Today, Sunday, September 8th is National Grandparents Day.

The holiday was first created by Marian McQuade before 1973, however, it wouldn’t be recognized as a holiday on a state level until March 27th, 1973 when it became recognized by West Virginia. Thanks to President Jimmy Carter and Senators Robert Byrd and Jennings Randolph introducing official legislation into the Senate, it officially became a national holiday on August 3rd, 1978. Each year, the president is asked to issue a proclamation to keep the tradition going.

The statue making Grandparents Day a holiday lists the three purposes of this holiday. These 3 purposes are as follows: 1) to commemorate and pay respect to grandparents, 2) to recognize the importance that older people can have on the lives of the young, and 3) to give said grandparents the opportunity to show love and support for their children’s children.

Grandparents Day has both an official flower and song. The official flower is the forget-me-not, and the song is Johnny Prill’s “A Song for Grandma and Grandpa.” Both were chosen by the National Grandparents Day Council.

Grandparents Day is a day for celebrating the connections between the generations, and its origin was decidedly noncommercial. The holiday has remained fairly true to its roots.

In 2016, Swiss, German and Australian researchers found half of the grandparents in their study who participated at least occasionally in their grandchildren’s lives were more likely to live an additional five years more than those not involved in their grandchildren's lives. So, the next time your children are spending time with their grandparents, think of the health benefits for them, as well as the memories your children are making.

So much of parenting is about sacrifice, and as it turns out, that also extends to grandparents. Only unconditional love allows for cartoons when grandfather's favorite team is playing on another channel.

To celebrate Grandparents Day, it really is the thought that counts. Most grandparents don’t care what activity they do—they just want to spend time with their grandchildren. No matter what, the best Grandparents Day activity involves you and your grandparents together, celebrating your family and each other. On Grandparents Day, it really is the thought that counts, just make sure your grandparents know that you’re thinking of them.

Jimmy Carter once said, "Because grandparents are usually free to love and guide and befriend the young without having to take daily responsibility for them, they can often reach out past pride and fear of failure and close the space between generations." Many of life's lessons have been learned from grandparents and they play a vital role in the lives of children.

Take some time today to devote to your grandparents or your child's grandparents even if it's a phone call or a text message just to let them know they are loved, appreciated and you are thinking of them.

River Valley Now would like to thank many of our readers who are grandparents and for playing a vital role in the lives of many. You are greatly appreciated. 

Happy Grandparents Day!