Here it is, the last (un)official weekend of the summer, with Labor Day on Monday. Children are back in school already, or will be this coming Tuesday. For many, Labor Day Monday is the last holiday before kicking it into gear for the Fall.
That is what it means now, by and large. But there is a history to this day and its origins. From the Department of Labor’s website:
WHAT IT MEANS
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
LABOR DAY LEGISLATION
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
So that is how it came to pass. It is a day to celebrate the workers of America and all that we are as a result.
But that is not all there is to it, on a bigger scale, that is. This Labor Day weekend brings the disturbing news that our labor participation rate continues to be at its lowest since 1977. Over 94 MILLION people are out of work in this country who want to be working. That is more than ONE THIRD of adults in the USA unable to find work. That is troubling, no doubt about it, and puts this holiday in a whole new light, does it not?
But there is another way to look at the idea of Labor, and that would be on a higher plane. A dear friend reminded me recently of this hymn on Labor, and it seems appropriate for this weekend:
“Come, Labor On,” indeed, a concept that is applicable to work that is physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Our work, our labor, in any one or all of those categories, is work well worth doing, I think. Whether we labor in the “fields” of our gardens, or work outside the home, the work we are doing matters. Even more is the work we do in our spiritual lives which I would suggest enables us to do our other work with a joyful and glad heart, knowing our work is important on a number of levels, and is work for which to be thankful indeed. It also brings with it this promise (h/t Stan for reminding me of this passage) from Matthew 11:28: Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Amen to that…
On a personal note, I am thankful for this weekend, and the “labor” of traveling to Abingdon for the Memorial Celebration of the life of my beloved Aunt June, who passed on in June. A number of family members will be traveling to Abingdon for the weekend, along with the extended family of Aunt June’s caretaker, Josie, who will be hosting the event at Aunt June’s home. Josie and her family have become our family, and we are extremely grateful for them, for all they did for Aunt June to make her last few years on this earth ones filled with laughter, love, good food, and fellowship, and for the joy they bring to others. No doubt, it will be a celebration filled with remembrances, tears, and thanksgiving for the many years Aunt June had upon this earth.
Once we return on Monday, we will be attending the Senator Tim Scott-sponsored Town Hall featuring the good Senator, our favorite Representative, Trey Gowdy, and presidential candidate, Senator Marco Rubio Monday evening. I am looking forward to hearing what Sen. Rubio has to say on a bunch of topics, especially Immigration and Foreign Policy. I will report back on Tuesday to let you know what he had to say.
Just so you all know, I will be away from my computer a good bit this weekend, what with the traveling, Memorial, and time with family. As always, I will check in when I can. And you know that I welcome your comments, links, cartoons, and music to celebrate this Labor Day Weekend. If you, too, are traveling to be with family and friends, I wish you safe travels to and from your destination.
Happy Labor Day, friends. This is an Open Thread.