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US Marks Father's Day

  • VOA News

Fans watch during Father-Daughter Day in the seventh inning of a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers, June 20, 2015, in Chicago.

Fans watch during Father-Daughter Day in the seventh inning of a baseball game between the Chicago White Sox and the Texas Rangers, June 20, 2015, in Chicago.

Sunday is Father's Day in the United States, an occasion to mark and celebrate the contributions of fathers. The non-federal holiday is observed each year on the third Sunday in June, which this year, falls on the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere.

In his Father's Day day message, President Barack Obama emphasized dads' involvement in their childrens' lives.

"This Father's Day, I want to take a moment to thank all of the dads across the country -- and across the world -- who aren't just 'around,' but are deeply involved in the lives of their kids," Obama said in a statement.

He also emphasized that even in the case of children growing up without fathers, "the rest of us can step up to make sure that every kid can reach their full potential."

Families usually celebrate the day with taking dad out to dinner and plying him with gifts, including - as the joke goes - far too many ties. Economists say Americans spend more than $1 billion each year on Father's Day gifts.

The humble origins of Father's Day began on July 5, 1908, when a state of West Virginia church held a Sunday service in memory of 362 men who had died the previous year in explosions in coal mines.

The next year, a Spokane, Washington, woman who was raised by her widowed father set out to establish a male equivalent of Mother's Day. She was successful and in 1910 Washington state celebrated the nation's first statewide Father's Day.

During the 1920s and 1930s, there was a move to merge Father's Day and Mother's Day into one holiday - Parents Day. However, when World War Two began, advertisers urged the public to celebrate Father's Day as a way to honor the troops who were serving the country. They succeeded and by the end of the war, Father's Day was a national institution.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon recognized Father's Day as a national holiday.

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