“Grandchildren are a grandparent’s link to the future. Grandparents are the child’s link to the past.”
Grandparents’ Day is celebrated the first Sunday after Labor Day in the United States. National Grandparents’ Day gives us a chance to affirm the importance of grandparents, and their vital role in families. It’s also a day of sharing hopes, dreams, values and setting an example for future generations.
Marian McQuade began to campaign for Grandparents’ Day in the early 1970s. She envisioned a holiday to encourage families to visit with elderly family members living in nursing homes.
McQuade’s interest in connecting generations started when she was a young girl visiting her grandmother on her farm. After chores were complete at the end of the day, they would visit elderly neighbors, often taking along food and gifts.
McQuade’s involvement during these times, along with her close relationship with her grandmother, prompted a lifetime of advocating for the elderly.
McQuade raised awareness about senior citizens throughout the 1970s, emphasizing the wisdom and family history grandparents can offer their grandchildren.
Through her efforts, McQuade was appointed to the West Virginia Committee on Aging and the White House Conference on Aging. She had a significant impact. Thanks to her lobbying efforts, West Virginia recognized Grandparents’ Day as a holiday in 1973 and President Jimmy Carter issued a Grandparents’ Day proclamation in 1978.
As a symbol of the “autumn years” of life, the month of September was chosen for Grandparents Day. It also coincided with the start of school, giving children the perfect opportunity to interview their grandparents for school reports. Many teachers embraced the idea that grandparents served as a valuable reference for historical events, making history come alive more than a book could.
As stated in the statute, the purpose of the holiday is as follows “to commemorate and pay respect to grandparents, to recognize the importance that older people can have on the lives of the young, and to give said grandparents the opportunity to show love and support for their children’s children.”
Grandparents Day celebrates the connections between generations and is a great time to remind ourselves of what grandparents mean to us.
Melissa Jones is an experienced mass market and e-commerce buyer with over 15 years in the industry.