The History of Father's Day

While Father's Day doesn't have a sad history quite like Mother's Day, its story does contain some controversy. Sonora Smart Dodd and her five siblings were raised by their father after their mother passed away. In 1909 Dodd, who lived in Spokane, Washington, lobbied her community and lawmakers to create a day similar to Mother's Day to honor fathers. Just one year later, Washington State complied.

But it would be another 14 years before then president, Woodrow Wilson, acknowledged the state holiday, and another 62 years before president Richard Nixon signed a proclamation designating Father's Day as a national holiday.

In between those two dates, Father's Day attracted a variety of protesters. Some argued a sentimental day dedicated to men was emasculating and too commercial. Others thought two holidays - one for mothers, one for fathers - were excessive, and lobbied in favor of combining the two into a single day honoring both parents.

But Father's Day became cemented in the national psyche during World War II when advertisers spun it as a way to support the troops. Today, Americans spend an average of $1 (B) billion on Father's Day gifts compared to nearly $20 (B) billion on Mother's Day.

How do you honor the men in your life on Father's Day?


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