Labor Day, why do we have this day off? A lot of Americans don’t know why.
Labor Day is a day that we celebrate the contributions that the American worker has made to strengthen the prosperity and well-being of our country.
There is ongoing contention, on who really founded Labor Day. The two gentleman who are credited are Peter McGuire and Matthew Maguire.
Peter McGuire (who resembles Kevin Costner a bit to me):
Peter McGuire was the general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and co-founder of the American Federation of Labor (now known as AFL-CIO).
It’s said that Peter McGuire was first to suggest Labor Day. he introduced a resolution calling for workers to lead a “festive parade through the streets of the city” (New York City to be exact) on the first Monday of September.
Then there is Matthew Maguire:
Matthew Maguire was a member of International Association of Machinists, Local Lodge 344 in Paterson, NJ and it has been said that Maguire first proposed the idea at a Central Labor Union meeting in New York in 1882.
I give them both credit, and honor them because I am sure they both played MAJOR parts in founding the day.
The Holiday then and Now:
The reason why Labor Day began, is to observe and celebrate the worker, with a street parade to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” which was followed with a festival of amusement for the workers and their families. Speeches only became popular when civic and economic significance of the holiday became prominent.
Labor Day has changed in recent years, parades are not as prominent in areas where big parades and displays have proven to be a problem. The emphasis is on speeches and demonstrations presented by union officials, clerics, politicians and educators.
Notable Labor Day Events and Icons:
Even though Rosie the Riveter was made famous in 1942 for the Memorial Day Edition of the Saturday Evening Post, she is also an icon for the women labor force and therefore is used for Labor Day as well.
To have Rosie as a symbol of the American woman is something that should fill every woman with pride. She is strong and still feminine, she stayed home while “Our Boys” fought in a war on the other side of the world. She had to be both a mother and a provider, this is the time women did jobs that were not classified as “woman’s work” and she raised children…she was/is the quintessential super mom!
FDR’s Labor Day address was one in which the President asked the American people to put their fundamental differences aside and focus on the issues at hand (talking about World War II). He is quoted in saying: “On this day, this American holiday, we are celebrating the rights of free laboring men and women. The preservation of these rights is vitally important now, not only to us who enjoy them, but to the whole future of Christian civilization.”
Of course who could forget a notable Labor Day Event!
As a child I always correlated Labor Day with The Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon. A great man raising money for a worthwhile event. Nothing like Tony Orlando singing “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree” and Jerry’s signature song “You Will Never Walk Alone”. Those are very good memories from my childhood.
But for me the most notable Labor Day in my past and forever will be last year. Labor Day 2012 was the day my beautiful angel was born. Yes September 3, 2012 my little angel was born at 7:03am and as my oldest daughter pointed out that last year was truly a “Labor Day” for Mommy!
My thoughts and opinions:
I think the American people need to look back at earlier times and embrace the greatness of what America means and represents. I think pride in our country should be an everyday occurrence not just when in a state of Emergency or a Holiday.
We need to teach our children our roots (good and bad) and how we have become the nation we are today. I don’t think history should just be taught at schools but at home as well.
Showing respect for our Soldiers and Veterans should be taught as well. These men and women need to be revered and thanked. I know that every time I see a service man or woman (past or present) I thank them for serving our country.
Along with respect to service men and women, there should also be respect for our every day laborers. Teachers, Firefighters, Law Enforcement our important but unrecognized blue-collar worker for if they weren’t here we would be lost.
So today you need to reflect and be thankful for the men and women who make this country of ours great!
Happy Labor Day America!