Recognizing Grandparents Day

Next Sunday, Sept. 9, is a special day for special people. A day to recognize and honor the grandparents in our lives.

First celebrated in 1978, National Grandparents Day is observed on the first Sunday after Labor Day each year. It is an observance and not a public or federal holiday in the United States.

Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia has been recognized as the founder. She started by encouraging young people to learn about the contribution of senior citizens in their community. She also wanted youth to be aware of the role of seniors throughout history.

Mrs. McQuade was assisted by West Virginia’s U.S. Senator Jennings Randolph, who introduced a proclamation to make the day a national holiday. Then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation on Aug. 3, 1978.

The purpose was stated “…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.”

Looking ahead to next Sunday, there is an opportunity for grandparents, parents and grandchildren to be engaged in their own family and in the community in a special day.

Incidentally, the flower of the U.S. National Grandparents Day is the forget-me-not. And in 2004, “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa” by Johnny Prill was adopted as the official song for this holiday.

In an article on the internet (grandparents.com), the lyrics to Prill’s composition demonstrates the delights children have in the presence of their grandma or grandpa. “Going to a ball game, fishing on the lake … eating grandma’s cookies … the stories that you tell, things I never knew …”

Designated for grandparents, the song is really for grandchildren to express their “…love for all the little things you say and do … a hug and a kiss or a ride home from school …”

The recognition of the importance of grandparents is often in the form of gift-giving, card-giving, story-telling, or an invitation to dinner with the entire family. And, if you choose giving a special card, you will join more than four million Americans who do so each year on National Grandparents Day.

William H. Baker, native of Claiborne County and former resident of Middlesboro, may be contacted at wbaker@limestone.edu