Today we pause to celebrate the role of grandparents in our lives. We stand on the shoulders of those come before us, like our grandparents whose labor and experience built the foundation for our families. Today is a day to honor our grandparents and help children become aware of the strength, information and guidance older people can offer. Recognizing the wisdom that older adults can offer to youth, Jennings is proud to offer intergenerational programs all year long to celebrate foster learning and mentoring relationships that greatly impact the lives of both generations.
“Intergenerational dialogues bring together diverse groups of people to discuss community issues and take action to affect community change,” says Generations United. “These activities can help promote mutual understanding across generations to increase social cohesion, understanding and cooperation.”
According to The Legacy Project, it was initiated at the grassroots level by West Virginian Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade in 1970, with the behind-the-scenes support of her husband Joseph L. McQuade. They had 15 children, 43 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild. After being married for over 60 years, Mr. McQuade passed away in 2001. Mrs. McQuade passed away in 2008.
Ms. McQuade came up with the idea of a day set aside to encourage families to visit their elderly relatives. With a firm resolve to make it happen, she began lobbying policymakers. McQuade got through to her Senators, Jennings Randolph and Robert Byrd, who introduced a resolution to make Grandparents Day a national holiday. It took a while to reach the White House, but finally, in 1978, the resolution declaring National Grandparents Day as the first Sunday after Labor Day, was signed into law by President Jimmy Carter.
Though the feast of Ss. Joachim and Anne (parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus) is July 26, the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) reflection is relevant today:
“In 2008, Pope Benedict XVI said that grandparents are “witnesses of a personal and community history” that continues “to live on in their memories and in their wisdom. Who does not remember their grandparents? Who can forget their presence and their witness by the domestic hearth? How many of us bear their names as a sign of continuity and gratitude! May grandparents return to being a living presence in the family, in the Church and in society. With regard to the family, may grandparents continue to be witnesses of unity, of values founded on fidelity and of a unique love that gives rise to faith and the joy of living.”
Need some inspiration for spending time together? Click here for Generation United’s “Do Something Grand” guide for a number of ideas about activities between grandparents and grandchildren, as well as ideas to have an impact in your community today and for the next generation.
Presidential Proclamation — National Grandparents Day, 2014
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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Each year, we pause to salute the grandmothers and grandfathers who strengthen our families and shape our Nation. Through decades of hard work, they have broken down barriers and blazed pathways for the generations that followed, and they continue to provide inspiration and support to their children and grandchildren. On National Grandparents Day, we honor the anchors of our families and recognize the immeasurable ways they enrich our lives.
With grit and determination, our grandparents have built better lives for their loved ones and a better future for our country. From battlefields to factory floors, their relentless pursuit of progress has created new opportunities and made
America more equal and more just. They have ushered in revolutionary advances in science and technology, putting us at the forefront of innovation. And they have shared in some of life’s most cherished memories — from small moments to personal milestones — and been a source of comfort in difficult times.
Across our country, grandparents continue to contribute to their families and communities in countless ways. They volunteer in their neighborhoods, and for more than 5 million grandchildren, they serve as the head of household, providing unconditional love and support. Their tenacious spirit, commitment to family, and sense of service remind us that after a lifetime of hard work, they deserve to retire with security and dignity.
Today, we pay tribute to our grandparents and all the older Americans who have reached across generations and played an important role in our lives. With profound gratitude, we celebrate all they have accomplished and given to our Nation.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 7, 2014, as National Grandparents Day. I call upon all Americans to take the time to honor their own grandparents and those in their community.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.