Father's Day
on Poster Stamps -- one postage stamp, and a cancel -- 

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The United States is one of the few countries in the world -- together with Great Britain -- that has an official day on which fathers are honored by their children. On the third Sunday in June, fathers all across the United States are given presents, treated to dinner or otherwise made feel special.  

  • These posters are not postage stamps, but cinderellas issued during the 1940s through the 1960s in honour of Father's Day.

To express special appreciation for Dad, the U.S. Postal Service issued on 20th April 1987 a particularly meaningful stamp as part of its Special Occasions Messages booklet. The stamp depicts a steaming cup of coffee and a pair of reading glasses set upon a newspaper, with a simple horizontal banner reading: "Love You, Dad!".  The stamp combined with the cachet art on the First Day Cover, presents a colorful and bold rendition of the "Love You, Dad!" theme, and forms a loving tribute to fathers everywhere.  

As children, winning dad's attention was worth the effort. And, as we grew older, earning his respect -- though more of a job -- was a triumph in itself.  The man we affectionately call Dad gave us more than life.  He gave us a sense of who we are, and how we should act with dignity and honesty.  We are ever grateful for his attention and patience as a teacher, his concern and love as a parent, and his helpfulness as a friend.  Each Father's Day, we want him to know how much we care, but we should also remember and honor him the rest of the year.   

Whether he taught you how to hammer a nail without hitting your thumb, throw a football in the backyard, or told you your very first bedtime story, it is only with the fondest of memories that we think of our fathers.  Once we thought he was the biggest, strongest man alive, and that he could solve every problem that ever came along.  

The cover was cancelled in Atlanta, GA, on 20th April 1987.

The origin of Father's Day is not clear. Some say that it began with a church service in West Virginia in 1908. Others say the first Father's Day ceremony was held in Vancouver, Washington.  Regardless of when the first true Father's Day occurred, the strongest promoter of the holiday was Mrs. Bruce John Dodd of Spokane, Washington.  She thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909.  

Sonora Dodd wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran, who was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child.  Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.  After Sonora became an adult she realized the selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man.  

In 1909, Mrs. Dodd approached her own minister and others in Spokane about having a church service dedicated to fathers on June 5, her father's birthday. That date was too soon for her minister to prepare the service, so he spoke a few weeks later on June 19th. From then on, the state of Washington celebrated the third Sunday in June as Father's Day. Children made special desserts, or visited their fathers if they lived apart.  

It can be stated for a fact that Great Britain celebrates Father's Day on the third Sunday of  June, see the extremely neat cancel of this cover sent from Dorset in England to Denmark on 9th June 1997.  

The cancel reads: What Will YOU Send? That year Father's Day was on 15th June. The stamp used is a Machin, NVI, 1st Class.

Also this year, 2003, Father's Day is celebrated on 15th June. 

In early times, wearing flowers was a traditional way of celebrating Father's Day.  Mrs. Dodd favored the red rose to honor a father still living, while a white flower honored a deceased dad. J.H. Berringer,  who also held Father's Day celebrations in Washington State as early as 1912, chose a white lilac as the Father's Day Flower.   

States and organizations began lobbying Congress to declare an annual Father's Day. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson approved of this idea, but it was not until 1924 when President Calvin Coolidge made it a national event to "establish more intimate relations between fathers and their children and to impress upon fathers the full measure of their obligations." Since then, fathers had been honored and recognized by their families throughout the country on the third Sunday in June.

In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day and put the official stamp on a celebration that had been going on already for almost half a century.  

In the webmaster's home country, Denmark, Father's Day is celebrated on 5th June, which is also the Danish Constitution Day, and therefore national holiday.  Father's Day was initiated in Denmark in 1937 and from the beginning celebrated on 5th June.  During the period 1947-56 Father's Day was moved to the second Sunday of November, as opposed to Mother's Day (second Sunday of May), but from 1957 until current day it is again celebrated on 5th June.  No Danish stamps have been issued for Father's Day.

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Revised 05 jun 2007 
Copyright © by Ann Mette Heindorff
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