History Behind Father's Day

By James Ciambor

Father’s Day is fast approaching but few know the history behind it. The holiday might actually have tragic origins. Some historians think the holiday began as a memorial tribute for a group of fathers who died in a mining accident in West Virginia in 1907. It’s quite possible that such a tragedy did inspire the holiday, but whatever the origins of the holiday were, it was officially celebrated for the first time on June 19th 1910 in Spokane Washington’s YMCA. Very quickly it gained national attention. A few years after the first Father’s day, Woodrow Wilson wanted to make it a federal holiday. But Congress didn’t want to comply with his request out of fear that the holiday would be overly commercialized. Well over a century has passed and there is no indication that Father’s Day is as overly commercialized as Christmas or Thanksgiving, which seems to indicate that Congress was fearful over nothing.

The holiday has taken over a century to get the respect and acknowledgment that it currently has, largely because of Congress' reluctance to make it a national holiday. Even though Presidents like Woodrow Wilson and Calvin Coolidge had showed their support for the holiday over the last century, there was still difficulty in making it an official holiday. In fact it wasn’t until 1972 that it was recognized as a permanent national holiday during Nixon’s administration. For all of its interesting history, I prefer celebrating Father’s Day not for its history but for the people in my life who have showed support for me over the years. Especially during this Covid-19 crisis, we have to show respect and love to the father’s in our lives.


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