ABOR DAY ~ how much do we know the meaning of it? Besides knowing the basics, I did a little research to learn more. It actually took 12 years of making for Labor Day to become a national holiday.
On September 5, 1882 the first Labor Day parade was held in New York City, marching up Broadway, led by the Knights of Labor. The Knights of Labor was a labor union founded in secrecy in December of 1869, by a group of Philadelphia tailors whose intentions were to protect all those who worked for a living. The parade was the reaction of disillusioned Americans upset with the 12- to 14-hour workdays in dangerous factories and underground mines. Twenty thousand workers marched in this parade carrying banners that read "LABOR CREATES ALL WEALTH," and "EIGHT HOURS FOR WORK, EIGHT HOURS FOR REST, EIGHT HOURS FOR RECREATION!" After the parade there were picnics all around the city and workers along with celebrants ate Irish stew, homemade bread and apple pie, ending the night with fireworks.
The next year, on September 5, 1883, the Central Labor Union celebrated the second Labor Day holiday. In l884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen’s holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in l885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. In September of 1892, union workers in New York City took a day without pay to parade around Union Square in support of a Labor Day holiday that would occur midway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. Finally, in 1894, President Grover Cleveland, in an effort to boost his presidential campaign, signed legislation making the first Monday in September a national holiday honoring labor. Despite his trying to appease, Cleveland still lost his bid for re-election. Today, Labor Day is observed not only in the U.S. but also in Canada, and many other industrialized nations.
Labor Day may now seem like just another holiday, an extended weekend, or the end of summer vacation. But, how about a time of thankfulness, for the jobs we have to sustain our family incomes, and for the many workers, be it doctors, firemen, police officers, nurses, garbage men, postal workers, farmers, truck drivers, etc. who make it possible for us to be protected, and have the daily needs and wants of everyday life.