According to the Farmer’s Almanac, Marian McQuade, a member of the West Virginia Commission on Aging and the Nursing Home Licensing Board, hoped to establish a day to honor the contributions grandparents and surrogate grandparents make to families everywhere. In 1970 she began a campaign to do so by highlighting the contributions of senior citizens to our country’s wellbeing. In 1978 President Jimmy Carter declared the first Sunday after Labor Day to be National Grandparents Day. Each year, the president issues a proclamation to keep the tradition going.
President Carter’s September 6, 1979 proclamation stated in part: “As we seek to strengthen the enduring values of the family, it is appropriate that we honor our grandparents. Grandparents are our continuing tie to the near past, to the events and beliefs and experiences that so strongly affect our lives and the world around us. I urge officials of Government at the national, State and local levels and of voluntary organizations, to plan appropriate activities that recognize the importance and worth of the 17 million grandparents in our nation.”
Grandparents Day has grown since then. It now has an official flower, the Forget-Me-Not, and an official song, Johnny Prill’s “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa.” The National Grandparents Day Council chose both.
Other countries, including are Australia, Canada, Germany, Estonia, and Italy, also celebrate Grandparents Day, although not necessarily on the same day as in the United States.
A spin off-of Grandparents Day is Gorgeous Grandma Day, celebrated on July 23, a day set aside to tell Grandma just how stunning she really is.
Most grandparents really don’t care how we celebrate their day. It might be a family gathering, a dinner, a phone call or a card. The important thing is that we let grandparents know how much we appreciate the joy and wisdom they bring to our lives.
On Grandparents Day, it really is the thought that counts – just make sure your grandparents know that you are thinking of them. So, tell grandparents how much you appreciate them. You really don’t have to wait until September to do it, though. Give them a call today! And while you’re at it, you really should make a point to tell Grandma she is stunning every day!