Ever since 1979, the United States has officially recognized the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. This year Grandparents Day falls on September 9, its 33rd anniversary since it was first proclaimed as an observed day by President Jimmy Carter.
The holiday is intended to set aside a day when grandparents and their grandchildren can strengthen their relationships. It’s also intended to provide grandchildren with awareness of how a grandparent’s experience, strength and wisdom can guide them and help others.
Grandparents Day first gained recognition when Marian Lucille Herndon McQuaid persuaded West Virginia Governor Arch Moore to establish a statewide observance in 1970. Ms. McQuaid was a West Virginia housewife who had worked with the elderly and knew firsthand how many of them, especially those living in nursing homes, were lonely and felt unappreciated.
Following the recognition in West Virginia, Ms. McQuaid and her fellow supporters persuaded other state governors to mark the day as well. By 1978 Congress had passed legislation making the day an nationally recognized one. It also made the forget-me-not the official flower of Grandparents Day, and named “Song for Grandma and Grandpa” as the official song.
On the 10 year anniversary of grandparents day, the United States Postal Service recognized Ms. McQuaid by issuing a commemorative envelope with her likeness on it. She died in 2008 leaving behind over 50 grandchildren and great-grandchildren of her own.