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President Obama hails nation's most important group: grandparents

In the wisdom that comes from having a grandparent play a warm and important role in his younger life, President Obama has proclaimed a special day in honor of, quite frankly, some of the most important people alive, grandparents.

Most presidential proclamations are meaningless PR tools to salve the egos of some group that thinks it's worthy. But grandparents are different. Influential. Also important. Nice too, most days. GrandparentsMission Ice Cream seem worthy of at least their own month, if not an entire quarter.

But for now we'll settle for a day.

There's a reason too they are called GRANDparents. They are unconditional lovers of little folks.

Grandparents can, after a modicum of experience, be the most patient of listeners to the most pointless of stories, the most diligent winder-uppers-of-things-that-get-wound-up, the most merciless ticklers of ribs and toes and the most discerning of spoilers. ("Don't tell your mother, but you look to me like someone who could use an ice cream cone right about now.")

And yet somehow, grandparents can also be the dimmest bulbs in the room.

Despite their advanced years of valuable life experience, grandparents can to the joy of a 3-year-old still appear startled by the jack-in-the-box jumping out for the 27th time in as many minutes.

So, thanks to the president for the day. And, more importantly, to the direct offspring for producing the wee ones that make grandparents' lives, well, so grand.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Proclamation by President Obama on National Grandparents Day, as provided by the White House

NATIONAL GRANDPARENTS DAY, 2011
- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, A PROCLAMATION

The support of loved ones provides the earliest and often most powerful influence on our lives.

Grandparents hold a special place in our families, serving as elders, caregivers, and sources of lasting inspiration. On National Grandparents Day, we honor the loving presence of these mentors who have contributed immeasurably to the strength of our families and our Nation.Obama the child with his Grandfather Stanley Dunham

As a country, we understand our welfare is determined by that of all Americans, and it is our responsibility to provide for our grandparents as they have for us. We must keep Social Security strong and viable, while preserving it for future generations.

We must strengthen Medicare by making common-sense changes that encourage high-quality care and address wasteful spending. After a lifetime of contributions to our Nation and its economy, seniors have earned this support.

Today, our grandparents continue to serve their communities in many ways. Their spirit of service and warm guidance instill in each of us the values of community and compassion and inspire all of us to reach for ever greater heights.

The greatest generation built America into a global force for prosperity, opportunity, and freedom. They taught us that with hard work, sacrifice, and a determined spirit, anything is possible. Today, we honor their contributions to our Nation and its proud story.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2011, as National Grandparents Day.

I call upon all Americans to take the time to honor their own grandparents and those in their community.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

/s/ BARACK OBAMA

Photo: Dunham family

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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