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Table Talk: The History Of Father's Day

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SONORA SMART DODD
This file photo shows inventor Sonora Smart Dodd, founder of Father's Day, in Spokane, Wash., in the 1940s. | AP

This week's Family Dinner Table Talk, from HuffPost and The Family Dinner book:

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. The holiday was born 103 years ago as the dream of a woman named Sonora Smart Dodd. Dodd’s father, William, was a Civil War veteran who raised six children (Sonora and her five brothers) on his own after his wife passed away.

Dodd had seen the idea of Mother’s Day catch on, and, inspired by her own dad, decided there should be a day dedicated to fathers, too. On July 19, 1910, her idea started to become a reality when Washington held the first statewide Father’s Day. President Calvin Coolidge encouraged celebration of the holiday in the 1920s, and Lyndon Johnson made an official proclamation honoring dads in 1966. Six years later, years of hard work -- on the part of Dodd and many others -- finally paid off when Richard Nixon made Father’s Day an official national holiday.

Tonight, let’s talk about the roles dads play in our lives -- and why they’re so worth celebrating.

Questions for discussion:
  • What are you planning for Father’s Day this year?
  • Why do you think it took so long for Father’s Day to catch on?
  • What’s one holiday you would add to the calendar if you could?


In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

Also on HuffPost:

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Around the Web

Spokane History - Sonora Smart Dodd and Father's Day

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Father's Day — History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts