The end of summer is almost here, school has started, and it’s time for a long weekend. Ahhh…Labor Day: the time for cook-outs, fireworks, great sales, get-togethers with friends and an extra day off.
In honor of teachers, who labor to educate our children, this month’s newsletter article is focused on a brief history lesson…and a challenge to reflect on Labor Day’s origins at some point during the weekend.
Labor Day was first proposed in 1882, to celebrate the economic and social contributions of laborers, and it became a federal holiday in 1894. The original celebrations included a parade, followed by a festival for workers and their families. Speeches by prominent people were added later, to honor workers.
Growing up, I remember hearing quotes pulled from these speeches and seeing pieces of them on TV. The words inspired me! One of the most memorable, of course, is Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream……” speech.
Times may have changed, but some of the original celebrations still continue, with a few modifications. There are still parades, festivals and speeches. However, Labor Day has also become the time for wardrobe changes and sales. I wonder if the original founders of the holiday ever dreamed of THAT? No white after Labor Day? Switch your cowboy hats from straw to felt? Yet, through the years, even these wardrobe traditions have changed with the times.
Despite the distractions, Labor Day is still a celebration of workers. But in this day and age, how often during the holiday weekend do we think about workers or work? Probably not often, unless we’re celebrating that extra day off!
Maybe it’s time we, as a nation, remember that our country was founded on the promise of hope — and the labor of so many. I urge you this holiday weekend to take time to remember the struggles and to be appreciative of the hard work of others before you. And as you are celebrating Labor Day, think about the work you do, and what legacy you will leave to others.
Happy Labor Day!
ps. What are you cooking on Labor Day? I might want to join you!