The establishment of Father’s Day in 1910 was seen as a complement to Mother’s Day a few years earlier. That holiday – a uniquely American tradition – was not created by the floral or greeting card industries, though both have profited handsomely over the past hundred years from the celebration. There is also no evidence the necktie business has promoted Father’s Day but generations of dads have learned to put on forced smiles when presented with horrific neckwear that would be basically unwearable for any guy with the possible exception of a sixth-grade teacher trying to appear hip to a classroom full of jaded 12-year-olds.
But that is not why we celebrate Father’s Day. It is a time to tell our dads we are thinking about them and to thank them for all they did to make us the people we are today. For those who have lost their fathers, it is time to pause and reflect on what they have meant in our lives and to resolve to be better parents to our own children.
Our cover story this week sounds a sad note about a dad who will observe the first anniversary of the death of his daughter this Sunday. For Craig Sexton, it will be his first Father’s Day in 27 years without his youngest daughter, Melodie Fay. That day will mark one year that has passed since Melodie was found dead, drowned in Lake Ivanhoe, a lake house community 10 minutes south of Woodville in Tyler County. There have been no arrests in the case although her death was ruled a homicide. The case has grown cold.
We can only hope the Sexton family can find closure some day and whatever peace that will provide, but Father’s Day will always be the day they lost their daughter, sister, mother and friend.
For the rest of us, we can resolve to honor the fathers in our lives and let them know how much they are appreciated. These sentiments are not restricted to a biological parent and many can point to a stepfather who assumed that role without reservation. We honor them this Sunday as well.
It was a stepfather that The Winstons sang about in their 1969 R&B hit “Color Him Father.”
Think I’ll color this man father.
I think I’ll color him love.
To dads everywhere of every stripe and every situation, we say Happy Father’s Day.