Back in 1907, Anna Jarvis embarked on a campaign for a national holiday recognizing mothers, She was inspired by her own mother, Ann Jarvis, who had founded five Mothers' Day Work Clubs and had died two years before.
In 1908, Grace Holden Clayton, inspired by Anna Jarvis, decided to honor 210 fathers who had died in mining disaster on Dec, 6, 1907, in Monongah, West Virginia. She chose a Sunday near the birthday of her own father and held the first observance of Father's Day on July 5, 1908, in Fairmont, W.V.
But history has mostly forgotten that first Father's Day. Two years later Sonora Dodd -- born in Arkansas but living in Spokane, Wash. -- started her own campaign for a national Father's Day.
Mother's Day was quickly accepted and became a national holiday in 1914. But Father's Day had a much rougher road.
Criticism had already begun about the commercialization of Mother's Day when President Woodrow Wilson approached Congress about recognizing fathers in 1916. His proposal went nowhere.
Over the years, several attempts were made to make the day a national holiday, but Congress refused to act. President Calvin Coolidge recommend the nation celebrate it, but failed to issue a formal proclamation. Maine U.S. Sen. Margaret Chase Smith championed the cause into the 1950s, to no avail.
Although informally celebrated by many Americans, the day remained in official limbo until 1966 when President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a presidential proclamation making the third Sunday in June as a day to honor fathers.
And finally, in 1972, President Richard M. Nixon signed a law making Father's Day a national holiday.
We are blessed to have two holidays rightly honoring the mothers and fathers who have contributed so much to our lives. Sometimes, though, its seems Father's Day is overshadowed by it's maternal counterpoint. Back in the days before cell phones were common, the telephone company reported that many more phone calls were placed on Mother's Day -- it was always the busiest calling day of the year. But more collect phone calls were placed on Father's Day -- the busiest collect dialing day of the year.
Well, fathers deserve a break. Their day shouldn't be an afterthought. And since Father's Day is not until tomorrow, you still have a chance to make sure that's not the case this year.
So take this Sunday to honor your father.