Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day (Besides Grilling)?
Some say that Labor Day is the end of summer. The last chance to enjoy the warm weather before winter tightens its cold grip on us. While a last fling around the sun is great, the holiday of Labor Day is about much more.
It is a celebration of the American worker. The people who make things, build things, serve food, stock shelves, drive trucks, clean up, fix stuff, and everything in between. It is also about remembering the struggle to protect and raise up everyone in the United States.
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. -US Department of Labor
Labor Day was the first celebrated in New York City in the early 1880s. To mark the day people would organize a day of demonstrations and picnics.
On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City, holding the first Labor Day parade in U.S. history. The idea of a “workingmen’s holiday,” celebrated on the first Monday in September, caught on in other industrial centers across the country, and many states passed legislation recognizing it. - History.com
The first state to pass Labor Day legislation was Oregon in 1887. In 1894, after a failed attempt to break up a railroad strike, Congress passed a law making the first Monday in September the federal Labor Day holiday.
As we fire up the grill and say goodby to summer, let's remember why we get to do it. Remember the Americans that worked to create the weekend. Remember those that worked to ensure a path to upward mobility, that worked to end child labor, to create the minimum wage and workplace safety, and other ways that ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reap the benefits of America.
While we unwrap the meat and put the burgers on the grill, think about the people that raised that cow, grew the feed, drove it to market, processed it at the plant, stacked the meat in the store, and checked you out at that store.
Have a happy Labor Day, we worked (and work) hard for it.