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September holds food for thought

Where has this summer gone? If you are reading this article today, we are staring at our final holiday of the summer. I hope we all take time to appreciate the hard work of our family members to maintain our lifestyles. Labor Day is usually observed on the first Monday in September- so the date will be the seventh. It is to show support for all unions and celebrate union work. On September 5, 1882, ten thousand workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. President Grover Cleveland made it a national holiday in 1894. However, Congress did not legalize the holiday for 12 years. Labor Day also signifies the end of several things -summer vacations for students, the peak hot dog season, plentiful vegetable/flower gardens and a rule (old-fashioned) stating you can’t wear white after Labor Day.

As the new school year begins, there’s one word I have heard over and over- confusion. Whether it is the teachers, students, parents or other school officials, people are confused about teaching and learning in this age of Covid-19. It is definitely new to all of us. My oldest granddaughter will graduate from high school amidst this pandemic. She just had her senior pictures taken and a couple of them show her face mask. I told her to make sure she purchases one with the mask on, her future children might enjoy hearing the stories behind this coronavirus that affected everyone. The wearing of masks, shields or gaiters has become commonplace. With the social distancing and face covering, it makes me feel sad that we can’t interact with others the way we once did. I pray that we will have a vaccine soon.

Another important day in September will always be the eleventh. The year was 2001, the day was a Tuesday and the time was approximately 8:46 a.m. Do you still remember what you were doing when our world changed forever? It has become known as Patriot Day/National Day of Service and Remembrance. On that day, an Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four American airplanes and flew them into New York City’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. One hijacked plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pa. The death count for that awful day was 2,977. The mayor, Rudy Giuliani would later say “It was New York City’s worst day. But it was New York City’s best week. We have never been braver. We have never been stronger.” Our country has never been the same since that day. Foreign affairs, terrorism and security issues are just a few ways in which our lives have changed. Then president, George W. Bush said “The world is beginning to understand why we all treasure America so much- our values, our freedom and the strength of the American character.” I would like to share this poem I found while researching for this article. “This country sees pain and grief, BUT love has tied us together. Hate tries to destroy, BUT love conquers. Hate tries to separate us, BUT love is stronger. Hate tries to kill, BUT love lives.” This was written by Annie Perryman, a 12-year-old in rural Oregon.

Changing topics now to a cheerier day in September is the thirteenth. National Grandparents Day was granted by President Jimmy Carter on August 3, 1978 and is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day. In 1969, nine-year-old Russell Capper sent President Nixon a letter suggesting that a day should be set aside in order to celebrate grandparents. On June 12, 1969, he received a letter back from Rose Mary Woods-Personal Secretary to the President- reading, “Dear Russell, Thank you for your letter to President Nixon. Your suggestion regarding a Grandparents Day is appreciated, but the President ordinarily issues proclamations designating periods for special observance only when a Congressional resolution authorizes him to do so. With best wishes, Sincerely, Rose Mary Woods, Personal Secretary to the President.”

A lady named Mariam McQuade began a campaign in 1970 to raise awareness of senior citizens throughout the 70s. She was recognized nationally by the U.S. Senate and by President Carter as the founder of National Grandparents Day. In 1977, Senator Randolph and others introduced a resolution to the senate requesting the president to “issue annually a proclamation designating the first Sunday after Labor Day of each year as ‘National Grandparents Day.'”

In closing I would like to wish the Ohio Valley a happy Labor Day, however you choose to celebrate.

I continue to pray for our teachers, staff and students as a new and very different year begins.

May we all take a moment to pause and remember September 11, 2001. Breathe a silent prayer for the lives lost (and their families), but also for the firemen, police and other officials who work every day to protect and serve our country.

For all of my fellow grandparents, please enjoy the special day with your little ones!

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