‘Our Fathers:’ Celebrating Opa-locka DADS

By Christina Gordon

Master of Ceremony, Former Vice Mayor Terrence Pinder, Welcomes the Fathers working and living in the City of Opa-locka to the second Annual Father’s Day event, sponsored by Vice Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor and the Opa-locka City Commission.

On Friday, June 18, 2010, in her second annual tribute to Fathers, Vice Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor began this year’s salute to the “proud papas” of Opa-locka, by literally escorting them from the front door, down a red carpet, to the second floor of the Municipal Complex building at 780 Fisherman Street, where “deserving dads” jam-packed the conference room for a special program and luncheon which honored and celebrated male parents who have dedicated their lives to raising children and providing for their families. According to the Vice Mayor, “It’s the celebration of ‘Our Fathers’ that brings us together,” …and together the Commission voted to support the Vice Mayor’s Father’s Day Initiative.

“There are over 60 scripture references on ‘The Father,’” Taylor began. “…and that’s were we receive direction and instruction concerning ‘Our Fathers;’ the greatest being to ‘honor thy father… that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.’”

By contrast to many who believe the concept of Father’s Day was created by greeting card companies and the restaurant industry for commercial purposes, Father’s Day in the U.S. was actually the idea, in 1909, of Sonora Dodd who was raised by her father after the death of her mother. Dodd created the first father’s day celebration in Spokane Washington in 1910, during the month of her father’s birthday. From that point, several Presidents supported it, but it wasn’t until 1972 that a Presidential Proclamation was issued declaring Father’s Day a permanent national holiday on the 3rd Sunday in June. Vice Mayor Taylor pointed out that although there were no official holidays previous to that, fathers have ALWAYS been, throughout time, considered “the strong tower, the head, the anchor, the battleaxe, and a shelter, during the time of a storm!” She said, even when the prodigal son hit rock bottom, he decided, “I’ll go back to my father’s house,” where everything was alright! In other sources, evidences was found tracing the significance of the father to the ruins of Babylon over 4,000 years ago, when a young boy named Elmesu carved a message to wish his father good health and long life, on a card made of clay. As for today, Taylor noted, “We are surrounded by exemplary, sacrificing, compassionate and inspiring fathers. They are fathers of discipline and influence. They are the super-glue that holds the family together.” She added that her examples of excellence have come through her own father, and in “my babies’ daddy.” As well, to pay tribute to “another ‘exemplary role model’ in our city,’” Taylor pinned a flower to the lapel of Commissioner Timothy Holmes, who found this Father’s Day particularly difficult to digest, while trying to contain his emotions during a performance by The Smiling Jubilairs of Ft. Lauderdale; a group which also sang at his wife’s funeral last year.

The invocation was given in Spanish and English by Pastor Bobby Rosario of Capilla del Rey (Chapel of the King) and his interpreter, Taylor explained, “to assure that ALL attendees understood the importance of celebrating ‘Our Fathers.’” Local Clergy lit a candle in prayer to commemorate fathers, both past and present. Former Commissioner Terrence Pinder served as Master of Ceremony, and all male members of the staff and community were willingly served by eager volunteers. Mayor Joseph L. Kelley, a father himself, conceited in banter on the significance of Fatherhood, “you couldn’t have done it with out us … but, we get the better end of the deal!”

In finalizing her “Words of Inspiration” to the fathers of Opa-locka, Vice Mayor Taylor concluded that few things are harder and more rewarding than being a father. She said, “We recognize you this day, and although we realize that fatherhood is not easy, we ask that you remain responsible, for we are counting on you; remain radical, although we might not understand your ways, we know what you do (popular or not) is best for the family; and lastly, remain real, because we rely on your strength, your honesty, your wisdom, your integrity and your straight-forwardness. Your children need you, your community needs and your City needs you… Never stop being ‘Our Father!’”

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