A Day for Fathers

A Day For Fathers
By Mildred O. Meyer

A great deal of confusion exists regarding the origin of a national Father’s Day as we observe it on the third Sunday in June. Various ministerial associations lay claim to the honor, but in most instances their influence did not go beyond their immediate boundaries.

An old issue of the Oregonian boasts that Father’s Day originated in Oregon in 1913. True, under the influence of various Oregon women’s organizations a resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to establish a national Father’s Day. The proposal, however, did not pass the House.

The idea for a national Father’s Day is generally accredited to Mrs. Bruce Dodd of Spokane, Washington. Upon the death of her mother, Mrs. Dodd’s father had done such an excellent job of rearing the family that Mrs. Dodd felt special regard was due him and all fathers.

In 1909 Mrs. Dodd persuaded the Ministerial Society of Spokane to honor fathers with special church services. Although President Woodrow Wilson approved of the idea, it was not until 1924 that President Calvin Coolidge recommended a national observance of a Father’s Day. In President Coolidge’s words, such a day would help “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children, and impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations.”

The red or white rose is generally considered the official flower for Father’s Day: red if one’s father is living, white if he has died. In Vancouver, Washington, a white lilac with a green leaf was the first choice. A group in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, selected, in 1914, the dandelion because “the more it is trampled on, the more it grows.”

As with every holiday, commercialism has its day. The media tell us we owe father costly apparel, gourmet treats and outdoor grills. Certainly there is nothing wrong with giving father a special gift on his special day. Yet the best gift a Christian child can give his or her father is love, respect and honor. If Father’s Day can help that happen, it is indeed a day worthwhile.


Mildred 0. Meyer lives in Jefferson, Wisconsin.

The above article was published in the Lutheran Digest, pg.58. The above material is copyrighted and may be used for research and study purposes only.