Danna Bell at LOC: "Father’s Day was not officially celebrated nationally until 1966 when Public Law 89-450 was enacted. This law only covered 1966. It was not until 1972 with the enactment of Public Law 92-278 that the third Sunday in June of every year was designated as Father’s Day."
To have a father—to be a father—is to come very near the heart of life itself.
In fatherhood we know the elemental magic and joy of humanity. In fatherhood we even sense the divine, as the Scriptural writers did who told of all good gifts corning "down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning"—symbolism so challenging to each man who would give his own son or daughter a life of light without shadow.
Our identity in name and nature, our roots in home and family, our very standard of manhood—all this and more is the heritage our fathers share with us. It is a rich patrimony, one for which adequate thanks can hardly be offered in a lifetime, let alone a single day. Still it has long been our national custom to observe each year one special Sunday in honor of America's fathers; and from this year forward, by a joint resolution of the Congress approved April 24, 1972, that custom carries the weight of law.
This is fitting and good. Let each American make this Father's Day an occasion for renewal of the love and gratitude we bear to our fathers, increasing and enduring through all the years.
Now, Therefore, I, Richard Nixon, President of the United States of America, do hereby request that June 18, 1972, be observed as Father's Day. I direct Government officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings, and I urge all citizens to display the flag at their homes and other suitable places on that day.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of May in the year of our Lord, nineteen hundred seventy-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred ninety-sixth.June 18, 1972 is significant for another reason: it was the day that newspapers carried stories about the Watergate break-in, which had occurred the day before.