Not So Lazy Labor Day


1940 Labor Day Parade crowd

What is Labor day to most of us? The marker that we should be settling in to our back to school routines and changing to fall decor soon? Or perhaps to keep an eye out for good Labor Day weekend sales and spend the day BBQing and with loved ones? We looked in to the meaning of this holiday in the U.S. and found some surprises...

First, we discovered that Labor Day was instituted to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States. This led us to admit that we really didn't have a strong understanding of the American labor movement and that we perhaps had taken for granted the men and women before us who dedicated their hours and sweat to making our Country better for us today and who fought to have better lives for themselves.

We found the first mention of a labor movement was a group of fisherman who worked off the coast of Maine that banded together as early as 1636! Much of the labor movement was not organized on a broader scale until the late 1800's. Before that, the labor movement was simply a community of people, usually of the same vocation, joining their voices to address challenges they faced as they worked. In reading the long history of the Labor movement in the United States, we were overwhelmed by the power of the people who banned together to help themselves and one another achieve a better life.

Although the course to make "Labor Day" an official Federal holiday as we enjoy it today was long and ultimately organized, and political, understanding the history made us proud of the ability of Americas to band together in fellowship to help one another and themselves. It seems that the very American spirit of striving for the best was ingrained in the American people well before our nation was the United States that we know today. We hope this article instills in you pride in being American and the knowledge that together we can make things better!

Image courtesy of Jack Delano/Library Of Congress/Getty Images, FILE