History of Grandparents Day

In 1969, nine-year-old Russell Capper sent President Nixon a letter suggesting that a day should be set aside in order to celebrate grandparents. On June 12, 1969, he received a letter back from Rose Mary Woods — Personal Secretary to the President — reading, “Dear Russell, Thank you for your letter to President Nixon. Your suggestion regarding a Grandparent’s Day is appreciated, but the President ordinarily issues proclamations designating periods for special observance only when a Congressional resolution authorizes him to do so. With best wishes, Sincerely, Rose Mary Woods Personal Secretary to the President.”

Following this letter, Marian McQuade was recognized nationally by the U.S. Senate and by President Jimmy Carter as the founder of National Grandparents Day. McQuade wanted to educate the youth about the importance of seniors and the contributions they have made throughout history. She urged the youth to “adopt” a grandparent and learn more about their lives, challenges, and desires for the future.

In 1977, Senator Randolph, with the help of other senators, introduced a joint resolution to the senate requesting the president to “issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as ‘National Grandparents’ Day’.” Congress passed the legislation, proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparent’s Day. On August 3, 1978, Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation, and the day was finally celebrated the following year.

Traditions of the Day

Grandparents lavish their children and grandchildren with an endless supply of love, gifts, and candy which they always seem to have on them. Today the favor is returned as grandparents are honored and receive gratitude for their strength, kindness, nurturing, and wisdom.

Every family shares their own history and traditions so, naturally, ways to celebrate this day vary. Whether it is going through photo albums, asking grandma to bake your favorite treat, spending time with your grandparents at the park, fixing the car in the garage with grandpa, we’re sure you’ll find something to do together!

Unfortunately, some grandparents have no one to share the day with. Volunteering at an old-age home is a great way to give back and so are community group projects that help the elderly feel included and like they are a part of a family.

How You Can Celebrate

LifeStream Services is joining the country in celebrating Grandparents Day by encouraging our community to share stories and special notes dedicated to their grandparent(s) or if you are a grandparent to share the joys of being a grandparent and what the role means to you. You can share your stories and experiences with us over on our Facebook page here.

Additionally, there are grandparents who do not have anyone to celebrate them and may be feeling especially lonely. A great way to make a connection with someone who is feeling isolated is to volunteer for LifeStream’s Friendly Caller program. The volunteer program matches a volunteer with a senior with similar interests who is experiencing loneliness to simply enjoy conversation over the phone. Learn more about the program and sign up by contacting Laura Bray, Volunteer Services Administrator, at 765-759-3372 or lbray@lifestreaminc.org.

However you choose to celebrate, we hope you will take time to remember not only your own Grandparents but Grandparents across the world as we take the day to celebrate them and their contributions to families and communities.

Learn more about Grandparents Day at nationaltoday.com/grandparents-day.

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