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A Third District Connection to Father’s Day


Garished neckties, potent cologne, and child-made cards with “I luv you” scribbled in red crayon will be placed in the large, open hands of doting fathers across Arkansas’s Third Congressional District this Sunday.  To all you fathers out there, enjoy the day; you are worth celebrating.  Fathers teach and inspire us.  They strengthen us.  They guide us.  Their love is unconditional.  The value of a father cannot be underestimated, though it all-too-often is.

One person who didn’t undervalue the role of a father was Sonora Smart Dodd.  Her mother died during childbirth when Sonora was 16 years-old, leaving her father, William Jackson Smart to raise six children.  While living in Spokane, Washington, in 1909, she heard a sermon extolling the virtues of motherhood in recognition of the relatively new “Mother’s Day” holiday that was gaining wider recognition.  Inspiration struck.  Fathers should receive a day of recognition their own for all they do too.  It was a thought born out of her personal experience with her father.  She pursued the idea, and with the backing of Spokane Ministerial Alliance and Spokane YMCA, the first Father’s Day was celebrated 104 years ago in 1910.

What you may not know is the connection that Arkansas’s Third Congressional District has with Father’s Day.  Sonora – the “Mother of Father’s Day” as she’s been called – was born in 1882 south of Fort Smith in Jenny Lind, Sebastian County, Arkansas.