Labor Day: Honoring American Workers

It is ironic that today, amidst talk of the need for jobs and WORK, there is an effort to diminish, if not destroy, the foundation of early American workers and the “founders” of Labor Day – the labor unions.  Perhaps politicians and Americans in general, should consider these words on the U.S. Dept. of Labor website: The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.”

 For many Americans, Labor Day marks the end of carefree summer days (except in Phoenix where summer lasts until Halloween!), back to school, a day for picnics, parades and parties and of course – a day off work.  To business, Labor Day signifies the beginning of fall marketing plans, cheaper flights and the countdown to Christmas, among other things.

 It may come as a surprise to some, especially American youth, to learn that Labor Day really does have something to do with labor. Thoughts of Labor Day first began in labor unions in the early 1880’s.  Although there is some confusion regarding which labor union and individual actually got things started – Peter J. McGuire of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners or Matthew Maguire of the International Association of Machinists – it is clear that a proposal was submitted to the Central Labor Union in New York.  The proposal was adopted, a committee appointed to plan a demonstration and picnic and the first Labor Day holiday way celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882.  Another Labor Day celebration took place exactly one year later. 

 In 1884, the first Monday in Sept. was chosen for the holiday which began spreading across the country, following New York’s example for a “workingman’s holiday”.  The celebrations were to include a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community. Oregon was the first state to adopt legislation recognizing Labor Day in 1887.  On June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act recognizing the first Monday of September as the national holiday of Labor Day.  

Today, Labor Day is still considered to be a patriotic holiday.  To honor it, and the American worker it celebrates, All The King’s Flags is having a LABOR DAY SPECIAL on United States flags, good through Sept. 12.  Follow thislink for a special online coupon!

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