The Fathers in me
It is one day among 365 that has been set aside to honor Fathers in America. I saw my Father a couple of weeks ago when he was flown into Washington DC on an “Honor Flight” for WWII veterans and we met at the WWII Memorial. He cannot see too well and walks with a cane, but he possesses the same spirit and strength of mind as always. With a Marine Corps escort, we walked the perimeter of the memorial, talking the best we could as I cannot hear well.
When I was a child, I watched my Dad, a member of the American Legion, make a speech honoring veterans at a cemetery on Memorial Day. He was nervous before making the speech, but it was a fine delivery and a large crowd of townspeople clapped as he recalled friends who had given their lives in WWII that had finished only a short time past. He also remembered Great Uncles, Frank and Homer, who died in WWI.
Also in the audience that day were Grandpa Oscar Taylor George, the County Sheriff, and Grandpa Roy Irons, machinist for the Hydraulic Press Manufacturing Company.
Oscar Taylor George’s father was James Almond George, after which I was named. He had died before I met him as did Great Grandpa William Irons. When I was growing up, older fellows sitting on the benches at the town square would sometimes mention that they knew one of them. They said James was a hard working farmer and William hung out by the pool hall around the corner.
I visited that pool hall trying to find his spirit there because I knew these are the fathers in me.
“Father's Day in the United States is on the third Sunday of June. It celebrates the contribution that fathers and father figures make for their children's lives. Its origins may lie in a memorial service held for a large group of men, many of them fathers, who were killed in a mining accident in Monongah, West Virginia in 1907.”
Fairmont West Virginia
“The first observance of Father's Day actually took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. It was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier in Monongah, West Virginia, on December 6, 1907. It is possible that Clayton was influenced by the first celebration of Mother's Day that same year, just a few miles away. Clayton chose the Sunday nearest to the birthday of her recently deceased father. Unfortunately, the day was overshadowed by other events in the city, West Virginia did not officially register the holiday, and it was not celebrated again. Instead, credit for Father's Day went to Sonora Dodd from Spokane, who invented independently her own celebration of Father's Day just two years later, also influenced by Jarvis' Mother's Day. Clayton's celebration was forgotten until 1972, when one of the attendants to the celebration saw Nixon's proclamation of Father's Day, and worked to recover its legacy. The celebration is now held every year in the Central United Methodist Church, as the Williams Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South, was torn down in 1922. Fairmont is now promoted as the "Home of the First Father's Day Service".”