Though there is mention of celebrations honoring fathers going back to 1508 in Southern Europe, the first known Father’s Day service in the United States was held on July 5, 1908. It came in the aftermath of a tragedy: the worst mining accident in United States history. At about 10 a.m. on December 6, an explosion in a coal mine system in Monongah, West Virginia, killed 361 miners. The exact cause of the disaster remains unknown, though it’s likely that the explosion was caused by a spark igniting methane gas in the underground tunnels. In an instant, about 1,000 children were left fatherless, and families were changed forever.
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