Did you know? 11 Labor Day facts

Janet Grant

Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

Labor Day means many things to us Americans. This Huffington Post slideshow provides a sampling of eleven reasons to celebrate.

In reading about the history of Labor Day, I realized its foundations were built on the back of civil unrest. Who knew that a three-day weekend we see as signaling the end of summer, sales (!), tucking away our white shoes, and wolfing down barbecue, actually arose out of violence, disgruntled workers, and the Federal government’s decision to quell the protests?

Now that I’ve done a little research about Labor Day, I’m mindful that this isn’t just a day of quiet in our usually tumultuous, computer-driven work week, but a day whose genesis is in the struggle for workers’ to overcome hardships borne in an economic depression.

Interior boiler room, sugar factory

I would urge you, as you decide how you’re going to spend today, keep this very important fact in mind, a fact that was as true in the year Labor Day was declared as it is now: This is the last holiday until Thanksgiving.

Labor on! Or not.

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12 Comments

  • Your comments and this picture remind me of my own dad. Although he entered the workforce a little later, I am reminded of his hard work (physically and mentally) to provide for us. I am forever thankful for his example and provision. Thanks for this reminder to sit back and evaluate my personal “state of work” and that of loved ones who went before me. For me, this is a very grateful Labor Day.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Carol, I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot this weekend, too. The provision he made for our family came from hard, outdoor labor, regardless what the weather. Life is now topsy-turvy, and we struggle to find time to put our bodies into some kind of motion.

  • “…keep this very important fact in mind, a fact that was as true in the year Labor Day was declared as it is now: This is the last holiday until Thanksgiving.”

    Which, for us Canadians, is in 5 weeks.
    It’s a good thing I’m not bragging, eh?

    I always think of the woman in the maternity wards on LaboUr Day. “Yes, muffin, you were born on LaboUr Day, and when you’re a mommy, you’ll get the irony of it all.”

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Jennifer, I’ve come to realize that Canada has timed Thanksgiving perfectly, to fall neatly between LaboUr Day and Christmas. A bunch of men, who had their Thanksgiving meal provided for them, thought the end of November was perfect for the States. So we U.S. citizens barely have the Thanksgiving dinner plates tucked away when it’s time to pull out the Christmas plates.
      And, yes, today is the perfectly ironic day to have a baby.

    • My husband was born on labor day.

  • A collective groan arose from my children when I reminded them that this was their father’s last day off until Thanksgiving. Sigh.

  • I’m definitely resting today. After a weekend filled with a birthday party sleepover (here), a trip to Boston and a game at Fenway (the Red Sox won!), and a trip to Marlborough for the Greek Festival, I am spending the day at home playing catch up.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Cheryl, that sounds like a perfectly crazy weekend for you. And I just want to mention that the Oakland A’s are eying the pennant. We won’t talk about the Giants, okay?

  • Did you know? One seventh of your life is spent on Monday.

    However, the only person to get his work done by Friday . . . was Robinson Crusoe.

    I guess you know what my favorite book is.

  • I celebrated Labor Day by working, so I suppose I could claim to be in the “spirit of the day.” My Daddy was a trucker with less than an eighth-grade education who supported his wife and kids on a salary that was something like $9 a week back in the 1930s. He worked long hours and I never heard him complain once. One thing he definitely left as a legacy was a work ethic. Thanks, Janet, for reminding me to look back and give thanks. And by the way … for us here in Nebraska, both Columbus Day and Veterans Day provide three-day weekends prior to Thanksgiving. Yeah. We know how to party.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Stephanie, I did recall Columbus Day and Veterans Day were national holidays, but I know so few adults who get to celebrate them, I discounted them. I guess I should have checked with Nebraskans before so doing.

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