In 1970, a West Virginia housewife, Marian Lucille Herndon McQuade, initiated a campaign to set aside a special day just for Grandparents. In 1978, 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 to signify the "autumn years" of life.)
The statute cites the day's purpose as:
"...to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".
McQuade made it her goal to educate the youth in the community about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history. She also urged the youth to "adopt" a grandparent, not just for one day a year, but rather for a lifetime.
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.