Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grandparent day

As I sat at lunch yesterday with an old friend, we talked of life, opportunities, sadness and joy. As the conversation moved to its natural pauses, I found my sight wandering to the young mother and her baby at the next table. I found myself thinking of my new grandson and the joys and sorrows that he would have as he grew into a man, and I thought about how I had missed the privilege of knowing my grandparents. I was intrigued when one of my cousins posted information about grandparent day on my facebook page, so I did a little  research when I came home.
I missed grandparent day in 2010 as I was not yet a grandparent, however I will not miss it in 2011. For those who are not aware, here is a brief history.

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 States Congress 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.

In Australia, Queensland was the first Australian state to officially celebrate Grandparents' Day - on the first Sunday in November, 2010. I missed it but my wife was there for it, but I don't think  she and my daughter knew to celebrate it.
National Grandparents Day began in Canada in 1995. Motion Number 273 submitted in the House of Commons by Mr. Sarkis Assadourian read:
That, in the opinion of this House, the government should consider designating the second Sunday in September of each year as grandparents day in order to acknowledge their importance to the structure of the family in the nurturing, upbringing and education of children.
The motion was agreed to, but Grandparents Day remains relatively unknown in most parts of the country as of 2010, so I am spreading the word so more of us will be aware of National Grandparent day . Finally,  more pictures of Ryder





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