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Thanks to Fathers

Posted on June 5, 2012 | Comments

Here’s a little Father’s Day trivia…Even though we in America most often refer to the male parent as father, it is a pretty common phenomenon that infants typically refer to the father figure as “da-da”.  Regardless of what children hear, even studies in different countries have found the infants using “da-da”.  That must be why synonyms for father include dad and daddy.

Another fact you may not be aware of is how scholars claim that the tradition of Father’s Day can be traced to the ruins of Babylon. They have recorded that a young boy called Elmesu carved a Father’s Day message on a card made out of clay nearly 4,000 years ago. Elmesu wished his Babylonian father good health and a long life. Though there is no record of what happened to Elmesu and his father, history books note the tradition of celebrating Father’s Day occurred in several countries all over the world. As for our country’s observance of Father’s Day, it was not made official until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the national proclamation.  By contrast President Woodrow Wilson signed the proclamation for Mother’s Day in 1914.

Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, WA is credited with the original idea for Father’s Day because her own father raised her and five brothers after his wife died in childbirth.  President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day in 1924 to “establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children…”  Orator and political leader, William Jennings Bryan backed the idea but members of the all-male Congress were opposed to it believing that Americans would think it was a self-congratulatory pat on the back.  In 1957 Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote to Congress and in part said, “to single out just one of our two parents and omit the other is the most grievous insult imaginable.” President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation in 1966 before Father’s Day became a national observance in 1972.

Even though it got a later start, Father’s Day Festivals have gained amazing popularity over the years. The festival is considered to be a secular one and is celebrated not just in the United States but in a large number of countries around the world including Argentina, Australia,   Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway and India though on different dates. Throughout the world, people take Father’s Day as an opportunity to thank fathers and pay tribute to them.

What is it about fatherhood that we like to acknowledge?  Providing for a family?  Strength of character?  Being a great role model?  As the national observance of Father’s Day approaches, please take a few moments to reflect on the role of the fathers in your life.  If possible, let these men know of your appreciation.  For me, I would like to say thank you to my father for his service to our country which earned him an honored burial at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific (Punchbowl) in Honolulu.  And to all the “dads” and “daddys,” Happy Father’s Day to you!  May you and your families enjoy a special day of recognition.

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