Today, across the nation, millions of people have celebrated having a day off from work or from school, as the summer comes to a close. This early September holiday is known as "Labor Day." Few, however, will reflect on the actual meaning of this federal holiday.
So, what exactly is Labor Day?
Labor Day is a celebration of the American labor movement, and celebrates the achievements of the every day worker. The holiday celebrates the sacrifices, and strength of the American worker, and how those workers have contributed to the daily well-being of not only our country, but also to our local and state governments.
Labor Day's history dates back to the late 1800's, although its exact founder is still often debated by historians. Labor Day officially became a federal holiday in 1894, when all thirty states in the union at the time began to celebrate the day.
Labor Day was officially deemed a holiday, when then-President Grover Cleveland signed it into law, following a number of deaths of workers at the hands of the United States Military during the Pullman Strike, a national railroad strike which took place in the summer of 1894. The strike took place following disputes between railroad workers, and the federal government.
The strike began in Pullman, Chicago, when workers went on strike, demanding higher wages. The strike would eventually eventually shut down western railway transportation. The federal government eventually intervened, by sending military personnel, in order to restore railroad business and transportation. Labor Day eventually began following the strike, thereby recognizing the contributions of everyday workers, including the railroad workers.
Today, many people do not recognize the meaning behind this federal holiday, which often gets lost amidst lighter fare, such as barbecues and going to the beach. Still, it is important to remember the overall message of the holiday and what workers have given to this country over time.
Our country is made of millions of people from various backgrounds who came from different countries to start a better life. With Labor Day, we celebrate workers of all backgrounds who have made the country what it is today.