Fathers throughout the world will wake up Sunday morning, June 15, to a day celebrated in their honor.
Some Dads will awake to their kids bringing them breakfast in bed. Others may open gifts that sons and daughters bought hastily the night before. Some fathers may simply choose to sleep in.
Father’s Day began 106 years ago in West Virginia, according to The History Channel. However, it was not a celebration. A church sponsored the one-off event on July 5, 1908, to commemorate 362 men who died in an explosion at a mine in Monongah, W. Va. It was one of the worst mine disasters in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
A woman in Spokane, Wash., then tried to start another Father’s Day celebration in 1909. Sonora Smart Dodd was one of six children raised by a widower. She sought out local churches, the YMCA, shopkeepers and government officials for support.
A year later, Washington celebrated the nation’s first statewide Father’s Day. The event then slowly began to catch on in different states.
In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day. However, many men still disliked the holiday, according to The History Channel. A historian said that these men thought the event was an attempt to “domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving” and that it was a commercial gimmick to get people to buy products which fathers had to pay for anyway.
However, that did not stop the nation and the world from celebrating Father’s Day.
“I know how important it is to have a dad in your life, because I grew up without my father around,” President Obama said in his address. “I felt the weight of his absence. So for Michelle and our girls, I try every day to be the husband and father my family didn’t have when I was young. And every chance I get, I encourage fathers to get more involved in their children’s lives, because what makes you a man isn’t the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.”
We asked our readers about their fondest memories of their fathers Saturday, June 14, on Facebook and Twitter. Their responses were a mix of happiness, warmth and, at times, melancholy.
“My dad was an over-the-road truck driver. I loved going on trips with him during my summer vacation,” Gina Stone commented on our Facebook page.