Father's Day started in 1909 when Sonora Smart Dodd, who was at church on the newly recognized Mother's Day, listened to the sermon at a Central Methodist Episcopal Church and thought about how they were celebrating the life of her mother who had died in childbirth when Sonora was 16 years old. Her father, Henry Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran and farmer, was raising Sonora and her five siblings as a single parent in Washington. Sonora decided she wanted a way to also celebrate and thank her dad with a special day to honor his sacrifices for their family.
She approached the Spokane Ministerial Alliance and suggested her own father's birthday, of June 5, as the day of honor for fathers. The Alliance chose the third Sunday in June instead. Thus, the first Father's Day was celebrated June 19, 1910, in Spokane, Wash.
It wasn't until 1924, however, when U.S. President Calvin Coolidge officially urged Americans to celebrate a national Father's Day. By 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a Presidential Proclamation, designating the third Sunday of June as Father's Day. President Richard M. Nixon signed a 1972 bill, making the holiday legal, official and permanent.
In 1999, Father's Day sparked an estimated $95 million in card sales, including husbands, grandfathers, uncles, sons and sons-in-law among the honorees.
The Father's Day founder, Dodd, was honored at Expo '74, the World's Fair, in Spokane in 1974. She died four years later at the age of 96, and was buried in Greenwood Memorial Terrace in Spokane.
No doubt, Dodd must have had some favorite Bible verses she associated with Father's Day, such as the following passages.
Proverbs 23:24 - "The father of one who is right with God will have much joy. He who has a wise son will be glad in him."
Ephesians 5:25-28 - "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."
Psalms 127:3-5 - "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate."
Psalm 68:5-6 - "Father to the fatherless, defender of widows - this is God, whose dwelling is holy. God places the lonely in families; He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. But He makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land."
Ephesians 6:4 - "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."
Psalm 103:13 - "Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him."
Malachi 4:6 - "And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction."
Joshua 1:9 - "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."