The Origins Of Grandparents Day In The United States

The Origins Of Grandparents Day In The United States
The Origins Of Grandparents Day In The United States

Grandma And Grandpa

Grandparents are wonderful people.  To a little kid, grandparents are wise and all knowing and love unconditionally.  Generally, they do not set the same amount of rules as the parents and are not above spoiling their grandchildren at every opportunity.  In 1978, the United States held its first national Grandparents Day.  The day was set aside to honor those wonderful people who hold a special place in so many people’s hearts.

Marian McQuade: The Woman Credited With Founding Grandparents Day
Marian McQuade: The Woman Credited With Founding Grandparents Day

The History Of National Grandparents Day

A special day set aside to honor Grandparents is a fairly new concept.  In 1970s, Marian McQuade, a housewife from West Virginia advocated for a special day for Grandparents.  McQuade was a vice-chairman of the West Virginia Commission on Aging and a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging.  She had met with President Nixon and the First Lady advocating the rights of senior in the early 1970s.  McQuade herself was a mother to 15 children and grandmother of 40.   McQuade’s goals were more than just a day of remembrance for Grandparents, however.  Her goal was to educate the public about the important contributions to society an elderly person can have to the champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes. 

In 1978, McQuade got her wish.  President Jimmy Carter proclaimed that every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day would be known as National Grandparents Day.  President Carter’s Proclamation states, “The elders of each family have the responsibility for setting the moral tone for the family and for passing on the traditional values of our Nation to their children and grandchildren. They bore the hardships and made the sacrifices that produced much of the progress and comfort we enjoy today. It is appropriate, therefore, that as individuals and as a nation, that we salute our grandparents for their contribution to our lives.”

Spending Quality Time WIth Your Grandparent Is The Best Way To Celebrate Grandparents Day
Spending Quality Time WIth Your Grandparent Is The Best Way To Celebrate Grandparents Day

How Grandparents Day Is Celebrated

There is no official way to celebrate Grandparents Day. Generally, the day serves as a reminder to those who came before the current generation and as a symbol of the respect and admiration for all that the prior generations have accomplished. However, Ms. McQuade’s goal was to simply have the younger generation spend time with the older generation on the national day. Both to bring company to those who need it and to allow the younger generation to tap into the wisdom that years of hardship and accomplishment experienced by their grandparents.

National Grandparents day does have its traditions, however. National Grandparents Day has an official song: “A Song For Grandma And Grandpa" by Johnny Phil. The Forget Me Not is the official flower of National Grandparents Day.

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Comments 2 comments

Zsuzsy Bee profile image

Zsuzsy Bee 7 years ago from Ontario/Canada

I love being a Granma and luckily I reap the benefits of special grandparent-day many, many times over throughout the year. Unfortunately in this era of hustle and bustle many of the aged are left behind. There doesn't seem to be enough time for the day-to-day's let alone go visiting. My hope is for the forgotten ones that they do get that visit and the recognition they all need and deserve.

Can you just imagine having 15 children, wow, thumbs up to Ms McQuade.

Great hub

regards Zsuzsy


bgpappa profile image

bgpappa 7 years ago from Sacramento, California Author

Thanks, I agree, too many of the elderely are left alone and they have so much to give.

Thanks for the comment.

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