Monday, September 5, 2011

What is Labor Day?

What is Labor Day?  Every holiday I try and spend some time with my children to cover the history and intent of the currently observed holiday.  Christmas-check, Thanksgiving-check, Easter-Check, Veterans-check, Memorial-check, July 4th-check, Halloween-check, Labor Day-what in the hell is this one?  I really have no idea what or why on earth we have Labor Day other than it's the last big weekend signalling the end of summer and back to the school grind.

I'm now heartbroken to learn that Labor Day is really Union Day, no thanks to President Grover Cleveland.  Figures that the holiday was put in place to appease unions.  Before all you union people get your panties in a wad and start calling me.  There was a day and time for unions, but I believe that day ended many decades ago.  I have many family members in various unions, but all the solid God loving hard working union people I know are not in the union by choice.  Rather their chosen profession required them to be a part of the union, if unions are so great wouldn't it be completely voluntary?

Given the revelation of this Socialist holiday, how about we rename it...... Happy Entrepreneur Day, Happy Founders Day, Happy Small Business Day, Happy American Getting Things Done Day, Happy Innovation Day, Happy American Exceptional-ism Day, Happy You Can Do It Day.  Pretty much anything that means the exact opposite of unions would be a great move.  

What is Labor Day? (from the questionable; Wikipedia)
The first big Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882, by the Communist Central Labor Union of New York. It was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882.

Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday in 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day. 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 Worker's 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, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.
The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations", followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1 Labor Day celebrations in most countries, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years.  Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer recess. Similarly, some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, although school starting times now vary.
What is Labor Day?  It seems to be a holiday to celebrate everything America is not.


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