By Patrick Lacombe
The Belton Journal
Last Sunday marked National Grandparents Day. Here is a brief history of the holiday and its beginnings, as well as a few quotes from local grandparents and what this day means to them.
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.
McQuade and her team turned to the media to garner support. They also began contacting governors, senators and congressmen in every state. 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.
“Our grandson and his wife came to visit and have dinner and they have a beautiful daughter,” Thomas and Frieda Brown of Killeen said. “We enjoy visiting with them because Rylee (great-granddaughter) is so precious and we like to spend as much time as we can with her. We love them all so much.”
Ross Edwards of Moody loves just spending time with his grandsons.
“I have 5 grand kids, all boys, so you know they’re a handful,” Edwards said. “We got together and played football in the back yard and they plum wore me out! We ate barbecue ribs with all the fixin’s, and after lunch, I tried to nap in my chair, but one or another would crawl up into my lap wanting me to play with them, and I would. I don’t get to see them that much, so you have to decide, ‘What’s more important, a nap or my grand babies?’ The boys won out, of course.”
Jorge and Rosa Aguilar of Belton had their three sons over with their families for the holiday. They have four grandchildren, three girls and a boy.
“We love our family, and getting together like this is always fun. We play with the kids, but they make me tired. The really good thing about Grandparents Day is the kids get to go home with their parents when it’s over,” Jorge quipped with a smile on his face.
His wife Rosa, playfully slapped his arm saying, “You know it breaks your heart when they go home.”
Jorge replied, “Yes, it really does.”