The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 1, 2013

Labor Day is the day for honoring American workers


Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — To many people, Labor Day is one last chance to enjoy summer.

It’s an opportunity to head to the lake or have fun some other way before we move toward fall and buckle down at school or on our jobs.

That’s a good thing, but, the day originally was set aside to pay tribute to the American worker.

The origins of Labor Day are somewhat murky, but this much we know: The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. More and more states set aside a Labor Day after that, before Congress — on June 28, 1894 — passed legislation setting aside the first Monday in September each year as a legal holiday.

The way Americans have celebrated Labor Day has changed as the years have gone by. According to the Department of Labor, the form the observance should take 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” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

We don’t see that kind of celebration much anymore. Now, it’s more of a family affair. As we said, it’s the last chance to enjoy the summer.

Regardless of how we mark the day, though, the contributions of American workers cannot be underestimated. Whether it’s a manufacturing job, a job on an oil rig in the middle of nowhere or a retail job at the mall, all workers contribute to our way of life.

This country was built on hard work, the sweat of the brow.

So, take time to enjoy the day. But also take time to remember what Labor Day really means.