Father’s Day: Celebrate America’s salute to 70.1 million dads across the nation

Father and young son looking at camera, close-up shot

Thanks, Dad! Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

SUNDAY, JUNE 21: On the third Sunday of June, Americans from coast to coast are saying just one thing: “Thanks, Dad!” Since 1972, Father’s Day has been an official holiday in the United States.

Census estimates place America’s dads at approximately 70.1 million, and President Barack Obama encourages fathers to take the Fatherhood Pledge (here). Though several attempts were made for a commemoration of fathers, it was Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, whose proposal became today’s Father’s Day.

Did you know? Both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were first observed in a Methodist church.

After hearing a sermon for Mother’s Day at Central Methodist Episcopal Church, Sonora Dodd suggested to her pastor that a similar day be set aside for fathers. Dodd’s father—a Civil War veteran who raised six children as a single parent—inspired the Father’s Day founder to encourage a sermon for dads at her church. Several clergymen took to the idea, and on June 19, 1910, multiple Father’s Day sermons were presented throughout Spokane. (Wikipedia has details.) In the decades following, Dodd would secure trade group sponsors for the holiday, and by 1938, the Father’s Day Council was was responsible for commercial promotion. Many feared the over-commercialization of Father’s Day, but nonetheless, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation for fathers—designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day—in 1966. Six years later, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed it into law.

JUST FOR DAD: ACTIVITIES, DIY GIFTS, RECIPES & MORE

Black-and-white of man wearing suit and tie, isolated color of blues and white on necktie

Think beyond the necktie! Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Looking to spend some time with Dad today? Activity options are endless, but if you’re stuck, check out USA.gov for suggestions of family activities, guides to national parks, museums, zoos and more.

Kids looking for a homemade gift idea? U.S. News has a multitude of ideas. The bonus? DIY gift suggested are even separated by age group. Creative older kids and adults can also craft Dad a gift with ideas from Martha Stewart.

Not sure what to buy Dad? News articles abound with gift ideas, but we love USAToday’s list to get Dad tech-equipped: from data-infused fitness apparel to the iGrill for ensuring a perfectly grilled piece of meat, we’re intrigued. For a good laugh, we love these 35 gift ideas from Real Simple, ranging from a functioning golf mug to a portable briefcase barbecue grill. Wondering what Dads overseas might get? The Telegraph has a roundup of inexpensive and amusing ideas, from beer-flavored jelly beans to animal skeleton playing cards to a horror novel inscribed on toilet paper.

Cooking Dad his favorite meal? Find recipes especially appropriate for Father’s Day at AllRecipes and Food Network.

Watching a flick with Dad? Find a list of movies fit for Father’s Day at TechTimes, from Father of the Bride to Mrs. Doubtfire to The Pursuit of Happyness.

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