“The presence of a grandparent confirms that parents were, indeed, little once, too, and that people who are little can grow to be big, can become parents, and one day even have grandchildren of their own. So often we think of grandparents as belonging to the past; but in this important way, grandparents, for young children, belong to the future.” ~Fred Rogers
National Grandparents Day in the U.S. is the first Sunday after Labor Day. It was established on Aug. 3, 1978, when president Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation “…to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer.”
How It Began
In 1970, a West Virginia housewife, Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, began a campaign to establish a special day just for Grandparents. Through collaborative efforts on the part of civic, business, church, and political leaders, this campaign expanded statewide. Senator Jennings Randolph was especially instrumental in the project. The first Grandparents Day was proclaimed in 1973 in West Virginia by Governor Arch Moore. Also in 1973, Senator Randolph introduced a Grandparents Day resolution in the United States Senate. The resolution languished in committee.
Mrs. McQuade and her team turned to the media to gain support – They also began contacting governors, senators, and congressmen in every state. They sent letters to churches, businesses, and numerous national organizations interested in senior citizens. Five years after its West Virginia inception, the United States Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as “National Grandparents Day”. The proclamation was then signed by President Jimmy Carter. Begun by only a few, today, this event is observed by millions throughout the United States.
Did you know?
September was chosen for the holiday, to signify the “autumn years” of life.