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History of Father's Day

Ninety-eight years ago, an American tradition was established in Spokane, Wash.

Sonora Smart was 16-years-old when her mother, Ellen, died in childbirth having her sixth child in 1898. Sonora was the only girl of the six and, along with her father, William, helped raise her younger brothers.

Sonora grew impressed with the courage and sacrifices William made in raising six children and thought he should be recognized.

While Sonora was attending church in 1909, the sermon talked about the newly recognized Mother's Day holiday and she got the idea that fathers should have their own day as well.

Since her father William was born in June, the first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane in June the following year. The idea grew in popularity nationally, as six years later President Woodrow Wilson came to Spokane and spoke at the service.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Nearly 40 years later, Coolidge's idea became reality, as President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation declaring the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. The holiday wasn't officially recognized until 1972.

According to the Web site Wikipedia, the United States is one of 43 countries around the world observing Father's Day as the third Sunday of June. Other countries in that list include Canada, Cuba, France, Japan, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Noted countries that celebrate Father's Day on different days throughout the year include Brazil (second Sunday of August), China (Aug. 8), Australia (first Sunday of September), and Finland, Norway and Sweden (second Sunday of November).

Many famous lines have been written about fathers. Here are some of them:

--"If the new American father feels bewildered and even defeated, let him take comfort from the fact that whatever he does in any fathering situation has a 50 percent chance of being right." - Bill Cosby.

--"It is a wise father that knows his own child." - William Shakespeare.

--"One father is more than 100 schoolmasters." -English proverb.

--"A man knows when he is growing old because he begins to look like his father." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

--"It no longer bothers me that I may be constantly searching for father figures; by this time, I have found several and dearly enjoyed knowing them all." - Alice Walker.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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