In 1909, 45 states observed Mothers Day, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson approved a resolution that made the second Sunday in May a holiday in honor of “that tender, gentle army, the mothers of America.” The campaign to celebrate the nation's fathers however, did not come with the same enthusiasm. Some said that fathers don't have the same sentimental appeal that mothers do. On July 5, 1908, a West Virginia church sponsored the nation's first event dedicated solely to fathers. A Sunday sermon was held in memory of the 362 men who had died in an explosion at the Fairmont Coal Company mines. However, this event was a one-time thing and not an annual occurrence.
The following year, a Washington woman named Sonora Smart Dodd, one of six children raised by a widower, tried to establish an official equivalent to Mother's Day for male parents. She went around to local establishments to drum up support for her idea, and on July 19, 1910, Washington state celebrated its first Father's Day. Slowly the holiday spread, but some men continued to disdain the day.
During the 1920s-1930s, a movement arose to scrap both Mother's Day and Father's Day in favor of a "Parent's Day." Activists stated that both parents should be loved and respected together. However, the depression derailed the effort. Struggling retailers and advertisers doubled their efforts to make Father's Day like a second Christmas for men, promoting gift sales. When World War 2 began, advertisers argued that celebrating Father's Day was a way to honor American troops and support the war effort. While Father's Day may not have been a federal holiday by the end of the war, it was a national institution. In 1972, in the middle of a hard-fought presidential re-election campaign, Richard Nixon signed a proclamation making Father’s Day a federal holiday at last.
Today, economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father’s Day gifts. What about you? Have you purchased a gift for the father figure in your life yet? Father's Day is this Sunday and your favorite Lake of the Ozarks boat lift company wishes all the dads out there a wonderful weekend!
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