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Ah, dads. They’ve taught us so much, from how to ride a bike to how to catch a ball. As one of the most central figures in our lives, our fathers shape who we are from the inside out. Father’s Day celebrates more than just the man who brought you into this world, though. It celebrates all the grandfathers, uncles, brothers, and men who helped us learn right from wrong, taught us the meaning of being good, and showered us with unconditional love and support. How did this holiday come to be though?
As you probably assume, Father’s Day was born in answer to another parental commemoration – Mother’s Day. Mother’s Day was conceived originally in an attempt to bring peace to a war-torn nation in the 1860s, recognizing the bond among mothers with boys on the battlefield. Anna Jarvis, daughter to Mother’s Day activist Ann Reeves Jarvis, pushed for the nation to adopt a national holiday, and in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson passed a resolution that recognized the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
The campaign for Father’s Day gained momentum more slowly however, mostly due to florists and shop owners believing that mothers had more of a “sentimental appeal” than fathers. But towns across the nation still honored fathers in their own way, from sermons to veteran parades to ceremonies. In 1909, Sonora Smart Dodd – one of six children raised by a widower – embarked on a fierce campaign to recognize a Father’s Day, speaking at churches, YMCA, and local governments. In 1910, Washington State was the first in the nation to recognize a statewide Father’s Day.
The holiday spread amidst reluctance, often because men believed it mocked their masculinity. But in 1916 via telegraph, President Wilson unfurled flags in Spokane to show his support. Eight years later, President Calvin Coolidge encouraged state governments to observe their own Father’s Day. Throughout the next decades, there was an attempt to convert Mother’s Day to “Parent’s Day,” scrapping the idea of separate holidays for each parent. But during the Great Depression, the separate holidays meant a boost in gift sales, and the two holidays stood individually. During World War II, Father’s Day took on an even deeper meaning, as it provided Americans an opportunity to celebrate the men who were most likely fighting for both nation and family. Finally, in 1972, President Richard Nixon signed a resolution making Father’s Day – the third Sunday in June – a national holiday.
Today, Father’s Day means more than gift giving. It means spending time with men who bring out the best in us, and it gives us just a simple opportunity to say “thanks, Dad.”
Father’s Day is a chance to honor not only dads, but grandfathers, uncles, and any of the men who shaped us into the people we are today. Who are you celebrating on Father’s Day?
Today, April 15th, is Tax Day across America, the last day for US citizens to file and pay the federal, state and local taxes on their income. Not everyone likes it, but almost every employed citizen has to do it.
The US government collects taxes so it can fund the many programs that help keep Americans safe, happy, and healthy. Federal taxes pay for national defense and public roads. State taxes support public schools, health programs, and public safety.
So let’s learn a little bit more about this very taxing day!
DID YOU KNOW?
- The income tax was expressly forbidden by the US Constitution in Article 1, Section 8: No capitation, or other direct, tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the census or enumeration herein before directed to be taken. Translated, this means that any tax levied by the Federal government must be divided among the states based upon their population.
- The IRS was first known as the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue).
- The income tax was first introduced by Congress and signed into law by President Lincoln in 1861 to pay for the immense costs of the Civil War.
- The first income tax was a flat rate of 2% on all income above $800, which, based on inflation rates would be about $19,000 today. How much would the tax burden be on that amount?
- The first federal income tax lapsed in 1872 because, absent the costs of fighting a war, Congress no longer saw the need.
- The first peacetime income tax was introduced in 1894 at a flat rate of 2% on individual income over $3,000. One year later, arguing Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court struck it down.
- 7. Congress proposed an income tax amendment to the Constitution in 1909 to avoid future Supreme Court battles.
- The 16th Amendment, establishing a federal income tax, was ratified in 1913. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.
- Taxes first began being withheld from individual paychecks in 1943 with passage of the Current Tax Payment Act.
- Tax returns were originally due on March 1st. The date was changed to April 15th to allow the IRS more time to process the mountains of returns submitted each year.
Can you guess to which government – federal, state or local – tax dollars go to support the following programs?
- Interstate highways
- International Space Station
- Garbage collection
- Smithsonian museums
- Public high schools
- Household water and sewer systems
- Recreation Centers
Other important events on April 15th:
- President Lincoln died, 1865.
- The Titanic sank, 1912
- President Truman signed the Japanese Peace Treaty, ending World War II, 1952
- Mickey Mouse went to Asia when Disneyland opened in Tokyo, 1983.