When the governor of Washington proclaimed the first Father’s Day in 1910, people—mostly men—had mixed feelings about a day to celebrate fathers. One historian wrote, “they scoffed at the holiday’s sentimental attempts to domesticate manliness with flowers and gift-giving, or they derided the proliferation of such holidays as a commercial gimmick to sell more products–often paid for by the father himself.”
However, during World War II, advertisers began promoting the day as a way to support American troops and the war. Father’s Day didn’t become a federal holiday until 1972; but by the end of the war, it had become widely adopted as a day to celebrate dads.
Now on the third Sunday of every June, we officially honor our fathers, especially those who are active or former military. Here are some ideas for how to celebrate all the military dads this year.
Economists estimate that Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on Father’s Day gifts, and gift-giving holidays aren’t quite as much fun when the recipient isn’t there to receive them.
Host a video chat.
Most dads will tell you, Father’s Day is about being with family. So bring the family to them through a video chat. There are many platforms, like Skype, that offer video chat, or VOIP services. You just need to determine how you will access the service—on a smart phone, tablet or computer—and who will join the call.
Check out some of the different apps you can use to host the perfect Father’s Day video chat.
Share a video.
It’s not always possible to have a live video chat, but you can still send your smiling faces from afar with a short, day-in-the life video or a message from the family. You can create a video and upload it to YouTube as public, unlisted or private, so you can determine who is able to view it.
Active Duty Dads
If you’re lucky enough to have the guest of honor at home, take him out for some family-friendly fun.
Head to a ball game.
Baseball is America’s pastime, and many Major League Baseball teams, including the Washington Nationals, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Houston Astros, offer military discounts on tickets throughout the season.
Throw a barbeque.
Have a get together with other military families, especially those missing their dads this weekend. Spending time with other people going through the same things and supporting those who have loved ones deployed is a great way to celebrate all the military dads.
Father’s Day is a great time to take a moment and honor dad for his military service.
Create a commemorative video.
Dads love telling stories, and most veterans have many to tell. A nice way to celebrate a dad who is a veteran is to create a video or slideshow set to music about his time in the service. Record some of dad’s stories, find some old photos, maybe even convince a buddy who served with him to participate.
Give a military-themed gift.
You can find anything on the Internet, including great gifts for military veterans. Check out Etsy, a handmade marketplace, for military-themed products.
Or, buy a customized wooden keepsake box for him to store his medals, military papers, photos and other memorabilia from his time in the service.
Happy Father’s Day to all our military Dads. Thank you for all you do and all the sacrifices you make. We salute you.