Father's Day: A meaningful, historic tradition

How did Father’s Day begin? According to Wikipedia, there has been a customary day to celebrate fatherhood since at least 1508 in Europe. The national day honoring dads in the United States is recognized as being started by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was raised by a widower. Sonora Smart Dodd became a well-known poet, scribe and sculptor. She studied at the Chicago Art Institute and later taught at the school. She first became concerned about acknowledging fathers after listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909. She noted that there wasn’t a day to honor her civil war veteran father who raised her and five younger brothers alone. She became an influential promoter of Father’s Day and through her advocacy, the first Father’s Day was celebrated in 1910 in Spokane.

Over time, the idea gained momentum in other parts of the country with President Lyndon Johnson signing a presidential proclamation in 1966 declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. The date chosen was close to the birthday of Sonora Smart Dodd’s father.

Honoring and celebrating those who have been a father-figure to us is a great way to spend the day and honor those who are no longer in our lives.

Here are a few ideas that senior fathers may enjoy:

Visit a local museum together or drive to a favorite outdoor spot to enjoy the scenery.

Take a stroll on one of Alaska’s many trails or through the neighborhood and enjoy nature together.

Enjoy a fancy meal at home, perhaps catered from a favorite restaurant, invite family and friends. Maybe pair this with a favorite movie to watch or sports event.

Share a barber shop appointment or have a mobile barber come to the house (yes, I did see a mobile barber shop van in Anchorage).

Does your loved one have a special memory or photo that can be framed in a fancy frame for them to keep close by?

Check out what the local senior center activities are for the month and attend an activity together.

Ask your loved one if there is a place they have been wanting to visit and make the arrangements to attend together.

Wishing everyone a beautiful summer and a meaningful Father’s Day.

Submitted by Maureen Haggblom and the Anchorage Aging and Disability Resource Center Team.

Alaska’s Aging and Disability Resource centers connect seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers with long-term services and supports. For assistance and answers, call your regional ADRC toll-free at 1-855-565-2017. Or visit the Alaska Div. of Senior and Disabilities Services ADRC website at https://dhss.alaska.gov/dsds/pages/adrc.

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