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Editorial: Honor your father today

Last Modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 6:14 PM

Today is Father’s Day, a day set aside to honor that special man in your life who provides sustenance and protection for your family, and wise guidance for his children.

Of course not all men are successful fathers. Examples of bad fathers are all too common. But the vast, overwhelming majority of men who become fathers do their conscientious best to be a good father.

Fatherhood is also one of the basic building blocks of family and society. Strong, healthy families build strong, healthy nations.

Father’s Day has at least two claimants as founder of the holiday. West Virginia lays claim to fathering the holiday on July 5, 1908, at the town of Fairmont. Grace Golden Clayton was mourning her father who was killed in the Mononagh Mining Disaster in December 1907. The disaster left a 1,000 children fatherless. She asked her pastor to hold a service for all the fathers killed in the disaster. The pastor chose her father’s birthday, July 5, for the “Father’s Day” service.

Another claimant is Mrs. Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Wash., who reportedly thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. She wanted her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, to know how special he was to her. The first celebration of the holiday in Spokane took place on the third Sunday in June 1910.

The great orator Williams Jennings Bryan took up the cause of the Father’s Day holiday and President Woodrow Wilson became the first president to celebrate the event in 1916. Then, in 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson, by special order, made Father’s Day a holiday to be celebrated on the third Sunday of June. Congress made it a law in 1972 by Congressional Act, signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon, and setting it permanently on the third Sunday of June nationwide.

But honoring your father, and your mother, are enshrined in Holy Scripture as the Fifth Commandment. The exact wording from the Book of Exodus in the Bible is, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you,” (Exodus 20:12).

Many other countries celebrate their own versions of Father’s Day as well.

In America, it has also become a big day for marketing greetings cards and gifts for men. Many people also like to hold family gatherings and pamper the dad of the family, much like mothers on Mother’s Day.

However you chose to celebrate this holiday, have a great day, and honor your father.

• • •

This editorial was written by a member of the American Press Editorial Board. Its content reflects the collaborative opinion of the Board, whose members include Bobby Dower, Jim Beam, Crystal Stevenson and Donna Price.

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