As a child, I never understood what “Labor Day” meant. I only knew it was a day that kept me out of school on a Monday… and that was a good thing. Whatever the reason, it was welcome to be here. It wasn’t until recently I took the time to understand what the meaning of it really meant. What was so important that it could be the source of a national holiday?
Although its exact origins are still debated, it is truly a day to celebrate the American worker. Labor Day was first observed by the state of Oregon in 1887. By the time it became a national holiday in the U.S. in 1894, 30 states were already celebrating the holiday. In fact, President Grover Cleveland endorsed it and Congress passed it unanimously partially in response to a national strike originating from a railroad car company. The strike was so widespread that at its peak, it involved around 250,000 workers across 27 states. It took U.S. Marshall’s and some 12,000 U.S. troops to suppress the movement. During the strike, 17 workers were killed and 57 were wounded. After all of that, Labor Day was passed by the President and Congress as a concession to organized labor. Now 125 year since its inception, it continues to be a welcome day of R&R.
Labor Day acts as the unofficial end of summer. Although Fall doesn’t officially start till September 22nd this year, many folks consider Labor Day to be the conclusion of summer. School is back in session, life begins to get back to the customary swing of things, and you’re no longer supposed to wear white. It marks the end of a chapter for many. Summer loves have come and gone, the great vacation has been spent, and our lives commence back to normal.
For sports fans, this is a great day. It marks the beginning of football – both professional and college. It brings forth an entire season of spectacular games, some killer food, tailgating, and just being able to spend time with friends and family.
Labor Day is a wonderful holiday that commemorates the workers that make our national economy something of wonder. As the greatest economy the world has ever seen, we most certainly owe that status to the workers of today and past who have launched us from mere colonies to the strongest nation. May our collective spirits and endeavors continue to keep us a formidable nation despite the pessimism we see all around us. We are great, and we are so because we collectively work together.
Written by John Poltrock of The Poltrock Team at RE/MAX in Murphy. He can be reached at 1-866-687-7496