Thursday, September 6, 2012

National Grandparents Day, September 9,2012

Some of the fondest memories of my life come from spending time with my Grandparents.

Gardening with Granny Shoemaker, having holiday meals with Grandmother Cowger, drinking beer with Grandaddy Cowger and, perhaps best of all, going fishin' with Grandpa Shoemaker. I really can't rate one experience over the other, however, as they all hold special places in my heart. But,I must say that fishin' with Grandpa was pretty cool beans to a little boy of 5 or 6 years old.

I cherish each memory as I cherish my children and grand children, each one differently, but none is more important than the other. These experiences helped shape me to become the man, and Grandpa, that I am today.

Special Days

Parents have their special days of recognition, Mom in May and Dad in June, so why not have a day dedicated to the parents of parents? That's a question that crossed the mind of Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade in 1970. So, Mrs. McQuade set about on a mission to create, and have recognized, National Grandparents Day.

Following is a very brief summary of Mrs. McQuade's efforts in starting a day celebrating those of us who have raised our children and now enjoy life as Grandma and Grandpa.

From, "In 1970, a West Virginia housewife, Marian Lucille Herndon 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 by Governor Arch Moore. Also in 1973, Senator Randolph introduced a Grandparents Day resolution in the United States Senate. The resolution languished in committee.
Mrs. McQuade and her team turned to the media to garner support. They also began contacting governors, senators, congressmen in every state. And they sent letters to churches, businesses, and numerous national organizations interested in senior citizens. In 1978, five years after its West Virginia inception, the United StatesCongress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day. The proclamation was signed by President Jimmy Carter. (September was chosen for the holiday, to signify the "autumn years" of life.)
Today this event, begun by only a few, is observed by millions throughout the United States."

The website has a treasure trove of information on Mrs. McQuade and National Grandparents Day that is well worth your time and perusal. There's a nice section on ways to celebrate this wonderful day and remembering and rejoicing with those Grandparents who are shut-ins or disabled.

We Grandparents owe a large debt of gratitude to Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, and the best possible way to repay her for her hard work and determination is to celebrate National Grandparents Day with our grandchildren and all the joy they bring into our autumn years.

It's the least we could do. :)

Maybe, just maybe, some day when they themselves are grandparents, one of your grandkids will write a story similar to this one and remember you with the fondness and love with which we remember our own grandparents and our own grandparent-hood.

The "Autumn of Life" is a wondrous time. Ain't it?

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