Obama Praises Grandparents Who Are Parenting 5 Million American Children

By Penny Starr | September 5, 2014 | 11:55 AM EDT

Morrisella Middleton, seated at center, at her home in Baltimore with three of her grandchildren, from left, LaQuanna Jordan, Shane Morrell, Jr. and Bryonna Reed. (AP Photo/MikeStogPhotography.com, Mike Stog)

(CNSNews.com) – In a proclamation marking Sept. 7 as National Grandparents Day, President Barack Obama praised grandparents in the United States who are raising their grandchildren – 5 million children who are not being raised by their parents.

“Across our country, grandparents continue to contribute to their families and communities in countless ways,” Obama said in the proclamation, which was issued on Friday. “They volunteer in their neighborhoods, and for more than 5 million grandchildren, they serve as the head of household, providing unconditional love and support.

“Their tenacious spirit, commitment to family, and sense of service remind us that after a lifetime of hard work, they deserve to retire with security and dignity,” Obama said.

In the proclamation, Obama said grandparents have made the country “more equal and more just.”

“With grit and determination, our grandparents have built better lives for their loved ones and a better future for our country,” Obama said in the proclamation. “From battlefields to factory floors, their relentless pursuit of progress has created new opportunities and made America more equal and more just.”

According to the National Grandparents Day website, the idea of setting aside a day to celebrate grandparents was the brainchild of the late Marian McQuade of West Virginia. The wife of a coal miner, Marian and her husband raised 15 children.

In 1978, President Jimmy Carter made Grandparents Day an official national day of recognition.