Message on the Observance of Grandparents Day

September 9, 1982

For generations, grandparents have strengthened the fabric of the family, preserving and enriching our national heritage. It is fitting that we pay special recognition to our nation's 20 million or more grandparents, and Congress has designated the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents Day.

Research has shown what many of us know from personal experience -- that the emotional attachment between grandparent and grandchild is a special legacy handed down from one generation to the next. Grandparents often fill roles as surrogate parents, care-givers, tutors, decision-makers, confidants, counselors, story-tellers, and family historians. They also help by sharing their wisdom, knowledge, and experience. In turn, the love and care that grandparents give enhances their own sense of usefulness.

With Americans living longer than ever before, three- and four-generation families have become increasingly common. An estimated one-third of all persons who have grandchildren have at least one great-grandchild. Of prime importance is the building of bridges between younger and older Americans, a lifelong process involving such institutions as our schools, colleges, churches, synagogues, and, most important, the family.

Henry Ward Beecher once wrote, ``There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots . . . the other, wings.'' Grandparents give us both bequests and help instill in future generations the values which make America great.

I urge all Americans to take the time to honor our nation's grandparents on National Grandparents Day, Sunday, September 12. In so doing, we will celebrate a union of the generations, in a very real sense, a triumph of life.

Ronald Reagan