First Sunday After Labor Day
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.