Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

What is Labor Day? Other than a day off of work. Well Labor Day is exactly what you would probably think it is. It's a day to celebrate the accomplishments of the American labor force. I'm not just talking profits here people, I'm talking socially too, so this isn't a holiday reserved for those who are doing hard labor, it's everyone.

The holiday is always celebrated on the first Monday in September, and the first one was celebrated Sept. 5th 1882. Whoa that was awhile ago, and I'm sure the accomplishments of the work force back then was a bit different than what we recognize now! Lets hope at least yeah? The 1882 Labor Day was celebrated by one of the first unions, the Central Labor Union of New York, and was a suggestion of the Peter McGuire of the American Federation of Labor. Well thanks Petey.
Labor Day in  NY
However, Oregon was actually the first state to make it an actual holiday, and in 1894 it became a federal holiday. By the time it became a federal holiday there were already 30 states that celebrate the day. So how did it become a federal holiday and not just a day that states recognize? Well it's because of the Pullman Strike. The Pullman Strike was a nationwide strike that happened between labor unions & the railroads. It was a long complicated strike that ended up resulting in the death of many workers at the hands of the US Military & US Marshals.

All these deaths struck some fear into the heart of the President, Grover Cleveland. Out of fear and wanting to resolve all the drama the legislation to make Labor Day a federal holiday was pushed through and signed in a mere 6 days after the strike.

Grover Cleveland #22 & #24!
Did you know there was actually a set outline for Labor Day? Me either! Do you think they have one for every holiday...hmmm. Anyways, the day was set to go as: A street parade to display to the public the strenght & overall worth of the labor force, this was to be followed by a festval for all the workers & their families. Apparently, there are speeches given by prominent men & women that also entered the line up down the road. I didn't really know about those. Other things that tend to happen on the holiday include: picnics, bbqs, and fireworks.

Labor Day also seems to mark the end of summer. WANH, WANH. This day/weekend usually means that the kids are going back to school, football season starts, and no more wearing white.

Hope everyone had a great long weekend & enjoyed a small day off for the fruits of your labor.

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