In 1973, West Virginia began a statewide campaign to set aside a special day just for grandparents. The first Grandparents Day was set by Governor Arch Moore.
Through concerted efforts on the part of individuals interested in preserving their heritage, this campaign was headed by Marian McQuade of Fayette County, mother of fifteen children.
Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) was especially instrumental in this project. In 1973, Senator Randolph introduced a resolution in the United States Senate and in 1978, five years after its inception President Jimmy Carter officially proclaimed the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.
September was the month chosen, signifying the "autumn years" of life, and today this event, begun by only a few, is observed by thousands throughout the United States.
Hallmark Cards requested permission from Mrs. McQuade to publish greeting cards for the holiday. Mrs. McQuade agreed to the request but declined to accept any royalties, saying she did not want to make any money on the holiday.
Proper observance of Grandparents Day is very important. Some families enjoy small, private gatherings, but for those who entertain larger groups, it can be fun to have a story-telling time, allowing grandparents to relate stories of their past, enlightening children as to how it was to grow up "back in the old days." Ice cream socials, picnics and lunch box socials have also proven successful.
A very significant part of such reunions should include an update of family albums and pictures. Names and dates should be put on old photos and many grandparents and grandchildren have begun family scrapbooks which live on, carrying many memories.
It is interesting to take a census, such as oldest and newest grandchild, family with the most grandchildren, or five generation families.
Along with Grandparents Day, we should not forget shut-ins and those in nursing homes who are unable to be with their families or have no families. Every effort must be made to include these people in the mainstream through cards, community projects and visitation at times other than just holidays.
For those not fortunate enough to have either grandparents or grandchildren, the need is increasing every day to fill these voids. There are many lonely people who would love the opportunity to be a Foster Grandparent and for children it's not such a bad idea to adopt a grandparent.
Mrs. McQuade's efforts also helped persuade President Richard Nixon to proclaim a National Shut-in Day in 1972.
Grandparents Day is Celebrated The first Sunday after Labor Day.
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