President Lyndon Baines Johnson holds grandson Patrick Lyndon Nugent as Lady Bird and Luci Johnson look on. [LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto. #A5720-9]

It’s Time to Do Something Grand: A Call to Action on Grandparents Day

Sep 13, 2012

"Most wars are declared by old men but fought by the young. But our war on poverty asks everyone to get into the fight." —Sargent Shriver, 1966

In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson appointed Sargent Shriver to serve as director of the War on Poverty. Both men understood this was a war this country could not lose, and one that would ultimately lift countless men, women and children of all ages out of poverty. The goal was not to coddle, but to empower; provide people with the tools to help them build and sustain a good life. Out of that idealism came such successful and recognizable initiatives as Head Start, Job Corps, VISTA, Community Action Program, Legal Services to the Poor, and Foster Grandparents. Together these programs continue to support the diverse range of Americans, from the youngest to the oldest. They also serve to bridge the times of need in between.

Spending time with families and sharing gifts and cards should be an important and special part of Grandparents Day. But let's also consider it a new call-to-action. Older Americans are an able and critical segment of our great society, who, through their active wisdom and engagement have much to offer. They can help create a more prosperous future for the most vulnerable among us. read more