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Where did Father’s Day come from?

Mother’s Day actually came first (it was celebrated as far back as the 1860s and declared a national holiday in 1914) and paved the way for Father’s Day. The history of Father’s Day goes back to 1908 when a church in West Virginia held a sermon to honor 362 men who were killed the previous year in a coal mining explosion. This was the country’s first-ever event to strictly honor fathers, but it was just a one-and-done thing. Nothing really came of it.

The following year, however, a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd started her quest to establish Father’s Day as a national holiday. Dodd was one of six raised by her single father and thought fathers should be honored the same way as mothers. After a year of petitioning her local community and government, Dodd’s home state of Washington celebrated its first official Father’s Day on June 19, 1910. Over the years, the celebration of Father’s Day spread from state to state, and after a long fight it was finally declared a national holiday in 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed it into law.