The story behind the third Sunday in June

Gregg Ledbetter of Carrollton will be celebrating Father’s Day on Sunday with his sons and grandchildren. Pictured, from left, are son, Thomas, holding Arrie, Gregg with grandson, Jack, Allen holding daughter, Charlotte and standing, Taylor.

As a reminder to sons and daughters — and wives as well — Father’s Day is this Sunday.

According to many people, it’s a day that is sometimes left in the shadow between Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May and Independence Day on July 4. Yet there are those who take the time to honor fatherhood, even if it means dad gets the gift of a loud tie, or tools, or fishing tackle.

“I always try to remind the kids that Father’s Day is coming up and not to forget their dad. In fact, I made the call earlier this week,” one local wife and mother said Friday.

She did not want to be identified.

“Seeing my name in the paper saying that I reminded my kids that Father’s Day is Sunday — well, that would not be good,” she explained.

Much like Flag Day, celebrated earlier this month, is not as well-known as Memorial Day, Father’s Day is thought by many to take a back seat to its counterpart, Mother’s Day.

Honoring mothers with a special day of observance began when a proclamation was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914 that made the second Sunday in May a holiday known as Mother’s Day.

It wasn’t an idea with universal support. One congressman complained, “If we do this, then we’ll have to have a special day for mothers-in-law.”

The first recorded Father’s Day service occurred in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908, seven months after 361 men — 250 of them fathers — died in the Monongah, West Virginia, mining disaster. That Sunday service occurred because of the efforts of Grace Golden Clayton, the daughter of a revered local minister.

However, despite several states recognizing Father’s Day, a national observance did not gain momentum until 1957, after Maine Sen. Margaret Chase Smith accused Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers, thus “[singling] out just one of our two parents.”

But almost a decade passed before President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

Nevertheless, six more years elapsed before Father’s Day would be recognized as a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Commercially, Father’s Day also lags behind Mother’s Day. According to the National Retail Federation, 76% of Americans plan to celebrate Father’s Day in some fashion as compared to 84% for mothers. Almost $10 billion more is spent on Mother’s Day gifts than for dads.

But take heart guys, you’re about even with the moms when it comes to going out to eat on your day, at least locally. Calls to four Carrollton restaurants Friday indicated that the two holiday observances are about even for the flow of customers.