National Grandparents Day is a secular holiday celebrated in the United States since 1978 and officially recognized in a number of countries on various days of the year, either as one holiday or sometimes as a separate Grandmothers Day and Grandfathers Day (see below for dates by country).
Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia, has been recognized nationally by the United States Senate – in particular by Senators Jennings Randolph; and Robert Byrd – and by President Jimmy Carter, as the founder of National Grandparents Day. 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.
In 1973, Senator Jennings Randolph (D-WV) introduced a resolution to the Senate to make Grandparents Day a national holiday. West Virginia's Governor Arch Moore had proclaimed an annual Grandparents Day for the state, at the urging of Marian McQuade. When Senator Randolph's resolution in the U.S. Senate died in committee, Marian McQuade organized supporters and began contacting governors, senators, and congressmen in all fifty states. She urged each state to proclaim their own Grandparents Day. Within three years, she had received Grandparents Day proclamations from forty-three states. She sent copies of the proclamations to Senator Randolph.
In February 1977, Senator Randolph, with the concurrence of many other senators, introduced a Joint Resolution to the Senate requesting the President to "issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday of September after Labor Day of each year as 'National Grandparents Day'." Congress passed the legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day and, on August 3, 1978, then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. 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".
Some people claim[weasel words] the origin of the holiday resides with the efforts[clarification needed] of Hermine Beckett Hanna of North Syracuse, New York, recognizing seniors and their importance as early as 1961. On February 21, 1990, New York Congressman James T. Walsh recognized the efforts of Hermine Beckett Hanna in front of the U.S. House of Representatives, thanking her "for her important role in the establishment of Grandparents Day".