By Steve Walker

Today is Father’s Day. It is the day to nationally celebrate and honor all our fathers who are still alive and those who have passed away to include La Prensa Publisher Tino Duran.

In my case, my father passed away at the age of 62 in 1985. My grandfather (his father) passed away at 65 in 1962. As a teenager I visited with my grandfather maybe three or four times before we moved for the umpteenth time.

Growing up in the fifties I remember Father’s Day at my house as not being overly memorable as a little kid. Later as the teenager in the sixties I remember the family would go to a restaurant for that special Sunday meal celebrating fatherhood

Father’s Day, accordingly was founded in Spokane, Washington at the YMCA in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd, who was born in Arkansas.

Its first celebration was in the Spokane YMCA on June 19th 1910.Her father, the Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart, was a single parent who raised his six children there.  Ironically I am the oldest of six boys.

After hearing a sermon about Anna Jarvis’s Mother’s Day at Central Methodist Episcopal Church in 1909, she told her pastor that fathers should have a similar holiday honoring them. Although she initially suggested June 5th, her father’s birthday, the pastors did not have enough time to prepare their sermons, and the celebration was deferred to the third Sunday of June which is today.

A bill to get national recognition of the holiday was introduced in Congress in 1913. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane to speak in a Father’s Day celebration and wanted to make it official, but Congress resisted, fearing that it would become commercialized.

President Calvin Coolidge recommended in 1924 that the day be observed by the nation, but stopped short of issuing a national proclamation. Two earlier attempts to formally recognize the holiday had been defeated by Congress.

In 1957, Maine Senator Margaret Chase Smith wrote a proposal accusing Congress of ignoring fathers for 40 years while honoring mothers. Lyndon B. Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honoring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972 two years after I was in Viet Nam. 70-71)

Ironically when I worked as a weekend reporter at KENS-5 Eyewitness News in 1982, my very first assignment was to do a Father’s Day story on George Cisneros, the father of then Mayor Henry Cisneros.

It was exciting visiting him at his home and interviewing him about his family’s Father’s Day traditions since I had previously served in the Army Reserves with him in the 70s long before I met the Mayor.

He was my unit commandant at the 90th ARCOM on Harry Wurzbach Road. Every Monday night, (Reserve meeting) I would report directly to Colonel Cisneros office for assignments for the evening. I do recall standing in front of him in his office smartly saluting him until he returned my salute.

By the time I interviewed him for the story, he had retired from the Reserves and I would run into him at the local gym where we both worked out. In some ways he reminded me of my own father.

Then there is Tino Duran who also remines me of my father.

From the first time I met him and Millie at Crossroads Mall we clicked.  Linda and I would walk the Mall as did he and Millie. We would visit and drink coffee. Since I was trained as a journalist we talked about what was happening in San Antonio. He asked if I wanted to write for La Prensa. (Now La Prensa Texas)  Obviously I said “Yes.” Now in my 10th year I am thrilled to still be writing about San Antonio and him. We had many conversations and I considered him a second father. I took photos of his funeral and many events. Steve Duran asked for photos and you should be viewing them as you read this column. We honor him and all fathers on this “Father’s Day.”

Anyway, as always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”