Most Americans are enjoying a day off from work today, the final holiday of summer and one, ironically, named Labor Day. Labor Day is a transition holiday. Summer is in its final days. School is in session, and fall is on the horizon. Most families are now turning their attention to the things that go along with that event, such as football season.
Labor Day is observed the first Monday in September and has its genesis in the labor movement of the late 19th century. Oregon in 1887 became the first state to observe Labor Day as a legal holiday. Seven years later in 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill making the day a national holiday.
“Labor Day differs in every essential from the other holidays of the year,” wrote Samuel Gompers, founder and president of the American Federation of Labor. “All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man’s prowess over man. Labor day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation.”
Today, we can stop for a day that would normally find us on the job and, hopefully, be able appreciate the fruits of our labor: our families, friends and the things we can afford because of those labors. We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and can enjoy this time off. We also hope our citizens stop for a moment and think about our young men and women in the armed forces serving in far corners of the globe, and especially those still facing danger in Afghanistan and other dangerous places around the globe who cannot be with their families today.