Do you know the origin of our Labor Day holiday? According to Wikipedia, the first official Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Central Labor Union of New York. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland reconciled with the labor movement. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation’s trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers’ Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair, which it had been observed to commemorate. All U.S states and our territories have made it a statutory holiday.
For me, it’s an observance of the dignity of work, and what work does for us. I believe we are at our best when we labor diligently in an effort where we use our gifts in an organization or cause in which we believe. What happens to us when we work rather than depend on someone else (or something else like a government) makes us better — more grateful, more wise and better stewards of our money.
May you and your family or friends celebrate a wonderful Labor Day. Today, let’s remember the people who are without jobs, pray for them and be grateful for the jobs we have. I look forward to meeting you at this blog page the rest of the week.