People on the National Mall salute their dads this Father’s Day

What's the best advice you've ever received from your father?

It’s a popular belief that Father’s Day has taken a back seat to Mother’s Day since it was first conceived in 1909 by Sonora Smart Dodd.

Dodd, a native of Spokane, Washington, was motivated to create the day honoring fathers during a Mother’s Day church service that year. A decade later, Mother’s Day was an official holiday, with Father’s Day earning the same declaration from President Richard Nixon in 1972.

WTOP recently headed to the National Mall, in the shadow of the monument dedicated to George Washington, and asked people about their dads.

Your dad’s best advice

“The best advice my father ever gave me was probably ‘throw the first punch’,” said Emily Snell.

Snell and her twin sister, Julia, were wearing their cap and gowns as they were on the way to their high school graduation from Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia.

When asked about the best advice received from their dad, Julia Snell said her father said to always tip well.

“Whenever we go to a restaurant or we go get his haircut, he will always tip like $30,” said Julia Snell. “The haircut people loved him.”

Khristopher Rosario is a seventh-grade English teacher at Legacy Prep Charter School in Bronx, New York, and was in D.C. on a school field trip. During a visit to the Lincoln Memorial, he told WTOP that his father advised him to never give up and always have hope.

Tour guide Cortland Wingfield told WTOP: “Never stop yourself because you think you are running out of time,” was the best advice his father gave him.

Gary Sampsel, on the other hand, said that he has given up on sharing his wisdom with his kids.

“They never did listen,” the veteran joking said, adding that he was on an Honor Flight Trip from Columbus, Ohio.

Getting the best Father’s Day gift

Another area where Mother’s Day wins out against Father’s Day is the amount of money spent on holiday gifts.

According to, Americans shelled out $33.5 billion last month for Mother’s Day, while $22.4 billion is expected to be spent on dad for Father’s Day.

The second question WTOP asked was, “What do you think your dad would want for Father’s Day?”

Sampsel said he would love for his kids to give him a circular saw for Father’s Day.

Mykail Mchardy, his wife, two children and his parents are vacationing in D.C. The Charleston, South Carolina, resident told WTOP that he’s thinking of getting his father a new timepiece. “He was complaining about his watch, so maybe a new watch,” said Mchardy.

Ananaya Mazumdar said she believes her father is easy to buy for. “He always appreciates anything Star Trek-themed or Lord of the Rings-themed,” said Mazumdar. She was with her fellow graduates from Wakefield High School: sisters Emily and Julia Snell.

“If I’m being honest, I think he’d want a six-pack of beer,” said Emily Snell. And for me to listen to him.”

Driving dad crazy

The third question WTOP asked, “What did you do that drove your father crazy?”

Mazumdar said she had to think hard to know what got on her father’s nerves, saying her father was not a fan when she would keep her room messy.

While he lives in South Carolina now, Mchardy remembered the good old days of growing up in the Bahamas. “My father wouldn’t like it when I didn’t finish my household chores,” said Mchardy.

Unlike the others, Emily Snell said she believed she may be annoying him at that exact moment. When WTOP asked her, “What’s the one thing that you did to drive your father crazy?,” Emily Snell answered: “Probably my answers to this interview.”

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Jimmy Alexander

Jimmy Alexander has been a part of the D.C. media scene as a reporter for DC News Now and a long-standing voice on the Jack Diamond Morning Show. Now, Alexander brings those years spent interviewing newsmakers like President Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney and Sean Connery, to the WTOP Newsroom.

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