Fathers play an important role in a child’s life – they stand by them though thick and thin and help them achieve the best in life. To celebrate this special bond between children and their father, Father’s Day is celebrated every year in the third week of June.

If you are one of those who celebrate Father’s Day… Thank the woman who spent 62 years campaigning for it. What began as one woman’s tribute to her dad, turned into a life-long mission for a day to celebrate all fathers.

History of Father’s Day

Although many will celebrate fathers today, few know about the woman who launched a 62-year campaign to establish the day as a federal holiday. It is believed that the day was started by an American woman who was raised by a widower. Sonora Smart Dodd was born in Sebastian County, Arkansas in 1982, and her mother died when she was only 16. It was Dodd’s father, William Smart, who raised her and five brothers after their mother died.

Dodd was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon when she realised the need for a day to celebrate fathers, especially her own. Inspired, she drew up a petition for the first Father’s Day, which she argued should be celebrated on her father’s birthday in early June. Even though the petition only earned two signatures, Dodd convinced several local church communities to participate – on the condition she push the date to late June to give them more time to prepare. The resulting celebration, in Spokane, Washington, kicked off Dodd’s nearly life-long mission of promoting Father’s Day for national status. Over the next half-century, Dodd would travel the United States, speaking on behalf of Father’s Day and campaigning for the cause.

Happy Father’s Day to all!