Father's Day

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“Dad: A son’s first hero, a daughter’s first love.” —Unknown

Through the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been separated from their fathers and grandfathers, not being able to see them, maybe being able to speak with them only on the phone. Others have lost their fathers and grandfathers to COVID the past year. The time has given us cause to reflect upon how much we love and appreciate our fathers and how much they have meant to us throughout our lives.

I, myself, lost my father in 2005. He was only 67 years old. It was definitely too soon for me, but when is it not too soon to lose a parent?

My dad and I were very close. I was more like my dad than my mom, both of us loving literature and music, discussing symphonies, jazz, opera, Dante, Shakespeare, and Hemingway.

He was also a very kind, patient father. His praise was beautiful and given often and bountifully. He was very supportive of my music and scholastic desires and appreciative of my artistic ability.

Throughout my adult life, he loved my children like they were his own, teaching them how to work and play, and acquainting them with principles of goodness that only a grandparent can.

My dad was a great example of a father who took his role as a parent seriously. I always knew I was loved and appreciated.

I will definitely be remembering him this Father’s Day.

Did you know the Father’s Day holiday was not immediately accepted when it was first proposed, and it didn’t become a national holiday in the U.S. until 1972. Actually, Mother’s Day came first, officially recognized in 1914.

The first known Father’s Day service occurred in Fairmont, WV, on July 5, 1908, after hundreds of men died in the worst mining accident in U.S. history. Grace Golden Clayton, the daughter of a dedicated minister, proposed a service to honor all fathers, especially those who had died.

In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd’s father, William Jackson Smart, a farmer and Civil War veteran, was a single parent. While attending a Mother’s Day church service, Sonora, came up with the idea of Father’s Day. Within a few months, she had convinced the Spokane Ministerial Association and the YMCA to set aside a Sunday in June to celebrate fathers. She proposed June 5, her father’s birthday. However, the first Father’s Day events didn’t commence until June 19, 1919.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson and his family personally observed the day. Eight years later, President Calvin Coolidge signed a resolution in favor of Father’s Day. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed an executive order that the holiday be celebrated on the third Sunday in June.

Then, in 1972, under President Nixon, Congress passed an act officially making Father’s Day a national holiday.

This year, on June 20, we celebrate our fathers and remember them for who they are or who they have been to us in our lives. How do you celebrate your father or father figure? Do you give him a gift of a tie or a tool, or do you go on a picnic in the park or take him out to dinner? Does he prefer a day jam-packed with activities or something more low-key? There are so many different ways to celebrate dad on this special day.

Picking out the perfect gift and writing a sweet message in his card may be a given, but make sure his day is full of activities that will bring him closer to the people he loves most. Really, if you were to ask him, quality time is the best gift you can give your dad. Whatever he likes, try to gear the activity toward allowing time to thank him for his role in your life.

No matter what kind of father you have, father, stepfather, or even someone who is just playing the role of your father, thank him for what he has meant to you. Even if you’re not together in person every day, you may feel his presence every day and you want to thank him for his love and advice.

Sometimes dads are almost like a best friend and you want to tell him how much this has meant to you.

Maybe you want to convey to him that you want to be the kind of parent to your children that he has been to you. You want to thank him for leading by example.

Maybe he has made all your favorite memories throughout your life special and you want to thank him for that.

Or maybe you just want to tell him, “Today is your day--so just enjoy it!”

However you decide to celebrate Father’s Day, whether you’re the father or you’re remembering your own father, consider the meaning of fathers and the key role they play.

Let’s celebrate Father’s Day, June 20, 2021, the best way possible!

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