Labor Day has become simply the last long weekend before the school years starts. For stores it is an excuse for one more back to school sale, for kids it’s the last Monday of freedom for months to come, and for parents it means they have survived another summer with the kids at home. But Labor Day was started with much grander things in mind and a much nobler purpose.
This holiday was started to honor the people that have made our country what it is today. Labor Day was created for the people that settled the land, built the cities, farmed the crops, invented the machines, and run the factories. Labor Day was started to give the ordinary man a holiday to celebrate his accomplishments and dedication to his work.
The adoption of Labor Day as a legal holiday took place in 1894. This was a generation after the industrial revolution took place. This holiday was created for the generation who had spent their entire working life working in factories and building the cities of America to be what they are today. The holiday was proposed to celebrate the sacrifice of these men and women who worked themselves to the bone to make a nation that led the world in production, manufacturing, and modern methods.
When Labor Day first became a national holiday it was traditional to focus on educating the public on the benefits of the working man. Large demonstrations, parades, and displays would fill the industrial centers of cities. Later the government gave widespread media coverage to events on Labor Day.
Today Labor Day events are focused more on the end of summer and vacationers than on celebrating the common laborer. What once was a holiday to honor the unskilled laborers who helped make America great is now a mere long weekend spent at the lake before school starts.
This year educate someone around you on the merits of Labor Day. Share the story of its origin with your neighbor as your enjoy your backyard BBQ or teach your children to appreciate those that do the work we all take for granted. The factory workers, the service industry professionals, and the people who wake up every day to do a thankless job are the backbone of our country and deserve a day to be remembered.