PICKENS COUNTY — This Sunday is a special day for millions of men around the country but the story behind Father’s Day is not as recent as one might think.
In fact, scholars today trace the day’s roots not back to a countenance for Mother’s Day as many believe but back to Babylon, and a young boy named Elmesu.
Nearly 4,000 years ago, Elmesu carved a message into clay that wished his father good health and a long life.
It was, if you will, the first Father’s Day card.
No clue was ever uncovered revealing whatever became of little Elmesu or his family but nonetheless, it was the beginnings of a modern tradition.
Skip forward a few thousand years and look up Father’s Day today, one will probably come across the name of William Jackson Smart.
Smart, who lived in Spokane, Wash., is most often considered the inspiration for modern-day Father’s Day.
A widower and Civil War veteran, Smart unexpectedly found himself in charge and the sole caregiver for his six children following the death of his wife.
For 21 years, he fed, clothed and educated his children in a time when rearing children was traditionally “women’s work.”
The story goes that in 1909, Smart’s daughter, Sonora Louise was listening to a Mother’s Day sermon at church. Inspired by her father’s role in her and her sibling’s lives she encouraged local churches to institute a Father’s Day observance as well — in June, the month of her Dad’s birthday.
As it is with Mother’s Day, the apostrophe in Father’s day is not accidentally placed. Instead of “Fathers’ Day” — which would include all fathers — by placing the apostrophe before the “s” the day is actually titled singular possessive. Meaning, it wasn’t originally intended to honor all the dads out there, just one: Senora’s — William Smart.
Regardless of how it came to be, the idea became incredibly popular in America and was eventually established via a presidential proclamation in 1966 by LBJ.
In 1972, President Nixon established a permanent national observance of Father’s Day to be held on the third Sunday of June.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.