Yesterday, events across the nation honored the seniors of our communities as they celebrated National Senior Citizens Day. (My fellow blogger, Rachelle Matherne, has already penned a terrific post about the history of the holiday starting with its roots in President Reagan’s 1988 proclamation. )
There, however, is a bit of confusion about the date of the holiday, as radio personality Jeff Johnson of 89.5 KVNE points out:
How does this happen? August 14th has been celebrated as ‘Senior Citizens Day’ since the Social Security Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt on that date in 1935. But… President Ronald Reagan signed a presidential proclamation on August 19, 1988 declaring August 21st as ‘National Senior Citizens Day.’
Johnson’s proposed solution is to celebrate the holiday for all five days that span between the two dates. Considering the contributions made to our communities by seniors, it seems like an excellent idea.
If you add in all of the other dates proclaimed to be Senior Citizens Day on the local and state levels, you will find that they are liberally sprinkled throughout the year. From luau celebrations in late May, to its celebration at the Fort Bend County Fair in late September, there are many occasions that share the title.
Take a look at this Senior Dance Team from last July, performing on its local Senior Citizens Day:
If you carry Johnson’s idea a little further, it would seem that any day is a good day to celebrate our seniors.
As a matter of fact, there are numerous events throughout the year all over the country that honor seniors, such as in Jacksonville, Denver, and Cincinnati. Almost every city has local listings online, often on the local government website under “special events.”
On a grander scale, the AARP has two really interesting events coming up. On Sept. 22-24, the organization will be having its Life@50+ event in Los Angeles. It promises to be a star-studded weekend with speakers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Carol Burnett, award-winning author Sandra Cisneros, Spike Lee, and even Grover from Sesame Street. There will be music provided by the Spanish Harlem Orchestra and the famed New Orleans brass band, Soul Rebels. No matter how you cut it, this should be an amazing weekend!
A few months later, in March of 2012, the AARP will be launching its first AARP Cruise. Seven days, four ports of call, and a bevy of on-board programs developed exclusively for the AARP attendees — a vacation cruise where you can learn about “topics ranging from health and wellness to creativity, personal discovery and renewal.”
Of course, you don’t need an event or a specially dedicated day. Just look at generationOn’ Kids Care Clubs, a group that facilitates volunteer and community-oriented clubs for children. Its Connecting Generations: Have a Heart, Lend a Hand club not only organizes children to assist seniors with practical tasks, but also builds a bond between the generations while doing so.
Anne Hart, Sacramento Media & Culture Examiner, brings us another great idea that also works all year round:
It only takes a few hours of your time to create a lasting record of a senior citizen’s life story, generating a priceless resource for future generations. Use your camcorder on Senior Citizen’s Day to video record the life story highlights of some older people.
Talk to them about what they have done to make a difference and what they have given back to their community. See, Preserve Life Stories of the Elderly. Also check out the sites, Baby-boomers record life stories of seniors, Caregivers For Alzheimer’s Patients Record Life Stories, and Project: Life Stories [PDF]. For national Senior Citizen’s Day, you may want to launch a Life Stories project, where younger volunteers interview senior citizens to learn about their lives.
Hope you had a great Senior Citizens Day, yesterday. But as you can see, any day is a good day to celebrate the seniors in your family and community!
Source: “National Senior Citizens Day (…or is it?),” 89.5 KVNE
Source: “National Senior Citizens Day, Aug. 21: how the media observes the culture of addressing older women,” Examiner.com, 08/04/10
Image by SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget, used under its Creative Commons license.