In 1970, a West Virginia housewife, Marian McQuade, initiated a campaign to set aside a special day just for Grandparents. Through concerted efforts on the part of civic, business, church and political leaders, this campaign expanded statewide. Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) was especially instrumental in the project. The first Grandparents Day was proclaimed in 1973 in West Virginia. Also in 1973, Senator Randolph introduced a Grandparents Day resolution in the United States Senate.
As the resolution languished in committee, Mrs. McQuade and her team turned to the media, governors, senators, congressmen, and numerous national organizations interested in senior citizens to garner support.
In 1978, five years after its West Virginia inception, the United States Congress passed legislation proclaiming the second Sunday in September each year (September was chosen for the holiday to signify the “autumn years” of life) as National Grandparents Day. The proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter. This year, Grandparents Day falls on Sunday, September 13.
The purpose of the holiday is three fold: to honor grandparents; to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children; and to help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer. Grandparents Day is the perfect time to enhance communication between the generations.
Grandparents Day was also established to remind us there are many elderly who are in nursing homes or who are home-bound and have no families, or are not fortunate enough to have family nearby. In every neighborhood, there are elderly who would love a visit, a card. Some senior citizens would welcome an opportunity to be a Foster Grandparent and this special day of recognition reminds parents, churches, schools, and senior organizations to help children adopt a grandparent.
To find out more about National Grandparents Day, visit their website: grandparents-day.com. Grandchildren can honor their grandparent/s, earn recognition, and win great prizes by nominating their grandparents for Grandparent/s of the Year and entering any of several contests available: art, essay, photo, poetry, web design or songwriting.
Mena will be celebrating Grandparents Day at the Ouachita Little Theatre with a program by The Old Lyric Players of short plays that they hope will entertain and amuse all generations – especially grandparents. OLT / OLP would like to invite grandparents, grandchildren and the generation in between to celebrate Saturday, September 12 at 7:30pm and Sunday, September 13 at 2pm matinee.
The next meeting of the OLP will be at OLT 610 Mena Street, at 2:30 on Saturday, August 1st.