August 21 is the day to reflect on the contributions senior citizens have made. It is also the perfect day to tell them they are appreciated. In 1988, United States President Ronald Reagan signed a Proclamation making August 21 National Senior Citizen’s Day. Following is a quote from former President Reagan:

“Throughout our history, older people have achieved much for our families, our communities, and our country. That remains true today, and gives us ample reason this year to reserve a special day in honor of the senior citizens who mean so much to our land. For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older—places in which older people can participate to the fullest and can find the encouragement, acceptance, assistance, and services they need to continue to lead lives of independence and dignity.”

     You probably know that Grandma Moses didn’t start painting until she was 76. But, did you know that German native Nola Ochs at the age of 95 was the oldest person to graduate from college. Barbara Hillary at age 75 was the oldest person and also the first black woman to reach the North Pole. William Ivy Baldwin at 82 was the oldest tightrope walker to cross the South Boulder Canyon in Colorado on a 320-foot wire. Mt. Fuji in Japan was climbed by Teiichi Igarashi at age 99. Fauia Singh completed the Toronto Waterfront marathon at age 100. They prove that age has nothing to do with the things one can accomplish in life.

     Senior citizens have a wealth of wisdom they have accumulated over the years. When it comes to finance, they suggest to put part of each paycheck away for a rainy day because you will have one. Take care of your body now so it will be healthy when you are a senior. Don’t let yourself get stressed over things you cannot change. Remember, happiness is a choice, not a condition. Listen to the wisdom your elders share with you.

     All types of businesses, from small independently owned to chain stores, offer senior citizens discounts. Amtrak offers special pricing to selected places. The National Park Service offers permanent United States residents who are 62 or older, a life-time pass to all National Parks in the USA. There is a small fee attached. There is also an annual pass they can purchase for just $20. With so many senior citizens owning RVs, this provides an economical way for them to see the beauty of the country they call home.

     What can you do on August 21 to remember the seniors in your life? Visit a nursing home or a senior who lives independently but does not get out much. If a senior family member lives far away, give them a phone call or visit with them using Skype. Send them a card or flowers. The most important thing is don’t forget about them.

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