Labor Day, otherwise known as the day that no one should dare do anything remotely close to what we call “work.” It’s a day that is usually spent in similar ways to that of how we Americans celebrate the 4th of July – drinking, eating and possibly blowing up left over fireworks (because no one waits to set off at least a portion of their personal fireworks inventory ’till the actual 4th).
Here are some facts on this infamous holiday.
Labor Day is an American federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 3 in 2012) that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.
Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.
In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York. Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882, after witnessing the annual labor festival held in Toronto, Canada.
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 Reyes, leader of the labor movement. Fearing further conflict, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; Cleveland signed it 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 be associated with the nascent Communist, Syndicalist and Anarchist movements that, though distinct from one another, had rallied to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in International Workers’ Day. All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.
So, now that you’ve digested a little history and fact session with that second burger (and fifth beer?), go back to your day of leisurely activities. I wouldn’t want to make anyone think that they had to read this and therefore “work” at finishing the article…
Regardless of how you spend your Labor Day, take time to reflect on all of the hard working individuals out there, much like yourself, and thank them all for making our lives better. Now, back to the beer!
(image courtesy of eatdrinkrepeat.com)