Grandparents Day, celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day, did not start as a way to sell greeting cards as many of us might think. It was through the efforts of one woman, Marian McQuade, that on August 3, 1978, then President Jimmy Carter proclaimed Grandparents Day a national holiday.
How it Began
Marian McQuade started her campaign for Grandparents Day in the early 1970s. She thought the holiday should be a time for families to visit with older family members living in nursing homes. Her idea quickly grew to encompass much more. As she worked with others, she emphasized the wisdom and family history that grandparents can offer their grandchildren and other family members.
McQuade’s interest in connecting generations began when she was a child visiting her grandmother on the family farm. After chores were done at the end of the day, they would visit elderly neighbors, often taking along food and gifts. McQuade’s interactions during these times, along with the close relationship with her grandmother, planted the seeds for a lifetime of advocating for the elderly.
A National Holiday
As an adult, McQuade worked tirelessly to provide support for elderly shut-ins. Through her efforts, McQuade was eventually appointed to the West Virginia Committee on Aging, the Nursing Home Licensing Board, and, finally, to the White House Conference on Aging where she had an even greater impact. It was there that her hard work finally paid off and Grandparents Day became a national holiday.
The month of September was chosen for Grandparents Day as a symbol of the “autumn years” of life. It also coincides with the start of school, giving children the perfect opportunity to interview their grandparents for school reports. Many teachers have found that grandparents can serve as valuable references for historical events, bringing history more alive than any textbook ever could.
McQuade passed away at age 91 in 2008 but continues to live on in the hearts and minds of her 15 children and 43 grandchildren. Beyond her own family, McQuade’s legacy and efforts to establish Grandparents Day will continue to impact on families for generations to come.
~ Legacy Videos ~
Give your grandparent the gift of a lifetime by capturing their life story for your family to know!
Here at Family Tree Video we produce Legacy Videos, modern-day memoirs that weave a filmed interview with a parent or grandparent together with family photos, documents, maps and other memorabilia. The result is a beautiful “moving portrait” capturing your loved one as they recount their life story, family history and memories – a gift your family will treasure for generations to come.
To learn more about capturing your grandparent’s stories in a Legacy Video, visit us at FamilyTreeVideo.com.
Family Tree Video LLC
Legacy Video Production
“There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children.
One is roots, and the other, wings.” — H. S. Carter