While our friends at The Liberal OC celebrated Labor Day on Saturday, we chose to wait until the appointed day.
The origins of Labor Day seem to be a bit murky. What we do know is it was first proposed in 1882 and first celebrated in Oregon in 1887. It was made a National holiday in 1897 after the Pullman Strike where striking workers were killed by the U.S. military and the Marshals. It is an international celebration although many countries celebrate it as International Workers Day.
I never thought much of Labor Day, beyond it being another day off for me (and, to the chagrin of the conservatives among you, a paid one at that). Even during my activist union years, it seemed to be just another excuse to cook hamburgers and hot dogs on a hot day in Summer.
In the past few years, however, it has taken on new meaning for most of us. With the latest collapse of the economy and the tough times most people are having get back on their feet, it seems appropriate to celebrate the working man and woman. It is not computers or fancy or robots or executives and managers that made this country what it is. It is the labor or millions of men and women, working on the assembly lines and the machine shops that have forged America. It truly is the dream of a better life for our children that has made our country so strong that even the Depression and the oppression of the government cannot still the will of its people.
So, on this great day, when you are flipping that burger or steak and drinking that cold one, don’t forget who made that possible – you did. Your hard work and fortitude, your willingness to work hard for the American dream, your desire for a better life for you and your family. Those are the things to celebrate.
Happy Labor Day.