“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Ahhh…Sadly it’s upon us, folks. It’s almost the end of summer. That means there is one last day to eat, drink & be merry before we pack up our summer whites and reconfigure our sleep schedules for the autumn months ahead. I will admit, I didn’t really know much about the holiday growing up, besides the fact that school was just around the corner. So as a kid, I never really found a reason to be celebrating much. All the fun in the sun would be over in a minute. And really, I don’t think I was alone in this notion. It wasn’t until I became an adult that I found a deeper meaning to it, and now it’s one of my favorite holidays. Because despite my childhood ideology that says you give thanks on Thanksgiving & memorialize the fallen on Memorial Day, Labor Day wasn’t a day to mark the beginning of my scholastic labors. There was a much richer meaning behind it. And it went much deeper than an extra day off.
The day was first celebrated back in 1882, but wasn’t an actual legal holiday until 1894 when Congress passed an act making the first Monday of September a national day of rest. But since its inception, it was always considered a day where families relaxed with each other and had a little fun before heading back to school and starting winter preparations during the cooler autumn months. What is interesting is that no one really knows who the creator of this lovely holiday was. Some records show that it was Peter McGuire, co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, who wanted a day to honor (and I love this) those “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold.” Man…That’s some fantastic wording! Others show that it was Matthew McGuire, a machinist serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York. But this we know for sure…the founder of Labor Day has a last name of McGuire.
And thus, we Americans break out the BBQ & picnic gear, our beach umbrellas & sand castle toys, and our camping equipment to head out to our favorite summertime hangout for one final hurrah. There are no gifts, no fancy plates, and no religious rituals. Just good ol’ American fun to celebrate a job well done all year ‘round. And I think that’s why I adore the holiday. It isn’t about honoring the living or dead, it isn’t about a certain race, gender or creed. It’s about EVERYBODY. Together we make this country great. Together we have built this place into the incredible entity it is. We may have our ups and downs, but we’re still in this thing together, working hard every day to make this country work. We deserve to celebrate that.
There will be houses to sell on Tuesday. Those open houses will still be scheduled. But don’t think about that…We can get to all that work stuff when you get back. Labor Day is for you and yours. Soak up the sun & feast on delicious treats with your favorite people. Last chance to rock those cool summer whites, America. Enjoy it!
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