Happy Labor Day 2011

Labor Day. What does it mean to you?

OK, one person says you mustn’t wear white after Labor Day.  And, you are correct.

You, in the back. You’re right, it’s a Monday off from work.

And, you over there, with the Australian shepherd. Yes, it is a good day to go to the dog park and have your dog fetch a Frisbee.

However, do you think that the people who established Labor Day had any of those things in mind? Let’s find out exactly what they were thinking.

Whose idea was it? Some say Peter McGuire, some say Matthew Maguire (notice the different spellings). In either case, the concept was put forward by labor unions.

The first Labor Day was September 5, 1882, and was planned by the Central Labor Union. Initially the celebration was only in New York City. The second was celebrated on the same day the following year. In 1884, however, someone heeded an original suggestion of the first Monday in September, and that has become tradition.

Appropriately, New York State saw the first state legislation introduced to make Labor Day an official state holiday, but Oregon beat them to it and passed the law February 21, 1887. June 28, 1894, Congress followed 23 states’ lead and made it an official national holiday.

America has stayed true to the original organizers of Labor Day, to some extent. They proposed parades in the streets to show the nation “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor unions of the community.” The parades were to be followed by festivals for workers and their families to recreate. Of course, it wouldn’t be American if someone didn’t give a speech, and that aspect was added later.

Today, our focus on recreation on Labor Day upholds the initial concept.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that the day before is Labor Sunday. It was proposed and accepted by the American Federation of Labor and focuses on labor’s part in educational and spiritual development.

The American worker. Where would we be without him and her?

Let us be sure to celebrate their contribution as we recreate.

See you tomorrow, Dr. Randolph.

MyPetsDoctor.com tips its pen to Hilda L. Solis, Secretary of Labor, for providing the basis of our Labor Day post.

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