Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Washington, first proposed the idea of a "father's day" in 1909. Mrs. Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was widowed when his wife died in childbirth with their sixth child. Mrs. Dodd wanted to celebrate the strength and selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent.
The first Father's Day was observed on June 19, 1910. June was chosen because it was the month of William Smart’s birth. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father's Day. However, the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was not issued until 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Father's Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.
Father's Day has become a day to not only honor your father, but all men who act as a father figure. Stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends are all honored on Father's Day.