Father's Day, 2001
By the President of the United States of America
Americans celebrate Father's Day as a unique time to reflect on the
importance of fathers and to honor their vital role in the lives of children.
For those who have been blessed with our own families, this day also provides an
opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to being the best possible fathers for
Father's Day was originally the idea of Sonora Dodd, who wanted to honor her
father, Civil War veteran Henry Jackson Smart. As Sonora's sole surviving parent
following the death of her mother, Mr. Smart made great sacrifices for his
daughter and raised her with courage, selflessness, and abiding love. To enable
all Americans to participate in paying special tribute to their fathers,
President Calvin Coolidge first recognized Father's Day in 1924.
During childhood, boys and girls look to their fathers for a sense of
security, warmth, attention, patience, and understanding. As young people
mature, their fathers contribute to their spiritual, emotional, physical,
financial, and social well-being. In reaching adulthood, men and women alike are
enriched immeasurably by the wisdom of their fathers as they pursue careers,
start families, and take active roles in the community.
For boys and girls raised without a father in the home, the challenges can be
great. Seventy-five percent of American children raised in a one-parent
household will experience poverty before they turn 11 years old, compared to
only 20 percent of children in families with two parents. Children in homes
where the father is absent are more likely to be suspended from school or to
drop out, be treated for an emotional or behavioral problem, become suicidal as
adolescents, or become victims of child abuse or neglect.
As a society, we must support fathers in fulfilling their responsibilities to
their families, which may include not only biological or adopted children, but
also stepchildren or foster children. Fathers must be prepared to nurture and
care for their sons and daughters, and to do so in the context of a strong and
committed marriage. To promote responsible fatherhood, my Administration has
proposed providing financial support to community and faith-based organizations
that help fathers and to programs that strengthen marriage and promote
successful parenting. We also propose funding to support the expansion of
ongoing State and local fatherhood initiatives and helping community groups that
try to provide young men with role models.
Our society must strive to produce a generation of men who are ready to
become the best possible fathers. Let us set a good example for America's sons
by valuing the responsibility and importance of fatherhood. Let us also honor
and be thankful for the caring, decent, and hardworking fathers who make such a
tremendous difference in the lives of their children and families.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America,
in accordance with a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972
(36 U.S.C. 109), do hereby proclaim June 17, 2001, as Father's Day. I encourage
all Americans to express love and respect for their fathers, as well as
appreciation for the vital contributions of fathers to families and to society.
I direct the appropriate officials of the Government to display the flag of the
United States on all Government buildings on this day. I also call upon State
and local governments and citizens to observe this day with appropriate
programs, ceremonies, and activities.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of June,
in the year of our Lord two thousand one, and of the Independence of the United
States of America the two hundred and twenty-fifth.
GEORGE W. BUSH