Forget the tie! Men hardly wear ties anymore, so abandon the tie as a Father’s (or is it Fathers’) Day gift. What you should really do is take your Dad out to lunch or dinner on June 19. Your turn to pick up the check.
(By the way, do you know how many fathers there are in the U.S. of A? Take a guess. We’ll provide the answer later in the Blog.)
In a previous Blog we reviewed the origin of Mother’s (or is it Mothers’) Day, so we thought the least we could do is tell you about how Fathers’ Day came about. It was an idea that did not get immediately or enthusiastically embraced. That may be partly due to the fact that it was a tragedy the sparked Fathers’ Day.
In December 1907 a coal mine explosion in West Virginia took the lives of 362 men. The following July, a local church started the first event specifically to honor dads—it was a sermon. This one-time event was not the spark that created the idea of a national holiday.. That was to come later and wouldn’t you know it—it was a woman who came up with the idea of honoring fathers.
Her name was Sonora Smart Dodd and she lived in Spokane, WA. In 1909, Ms. Dodd—one of six children raised by her widowed dad—decided that if there was a Mothers’ Day, why shouldn’t there be a day to honor fathers too. She was a lady on a mission. She talked about her idea to everyone who would listen and whom she thought could help get the idea accepted. She called on shop owners, local churches, the YMCA, and government representatives.
(Writer’s note: By some accounts, it was Grace Golden Clayton, who lived near the aforementioned mine in West Virginia, that was the first person on record to call for a Fathers’ Day.)
By the following year Ms. Dodd had accomplished the first stage of her mission. On July 19, 1910 Washington State marked the country’s first statewide Fathers’ Day. The idea spread—ever so slowly. It was not till 1924 that President Calvin Coolidge appealed to states to observe a day in honor of fathers.
By the 1930s, the idea was floated to drop Mothers’ Day and have a Parents’ Day as part of a de-commercializing holidays effort. Despite numerous advocates of honoring parents together (there weren’t as many single moms and dads in those days), the idea was abandoned through the efforts of retailers during the Great Depression. They needed another holiday to sell goods, and a Fathers’ Day was seen as a great opportunity to increase sales of items used by men. Like ties!
During World War II Fathers’ Day was draped with the stars and stripes and promoted as a way to support the war effort by saluting men in the military. But it was not until 1972 that Richard Nixon—during an embattled re-election campaign and looking for ways to pick up some votes—that a proclamation was signed making Fathers’ Day a national holiday.
(Your reward for reading this far: There are 70 million fathers in our country.)
Okay, Fathers’ Day—despite noble beginnings—was really created as a way of selling products. But now it is more than that. We truly do wish to honor those guys who brought us up, taught us about sports, how to fish, and lots more. We are pretty confident that your dad would rather spend time with you than getting something wrapped in colorful paper.
A good way to spend time with your Father is to share a lunch or dinner with him on June 19. That way you will be creating memories—for both of you.
We would be honored if you did that at one of our 42 independently owned and operated restaurants that, together, we call NJHotChefs.com. Reservations encouraged. Or, check out the catering options many of our restaurants offer.
Happy Fathers’ Day!