Learn Something New Every Day!

Labor Day is Monday, 5 September 2011. But the Labor Day Weekend has already started, signaling for most a time of rest and relaxation.  As a holiday, Labor Day was first celebrated in New York in September 1882.  Then, in 1894, President Cleveland turned the day into an official national holiday in response to some deaths of workers by the hands of police and military during the resolution of a labor strike.  In response to the potential of more strife, Congress unanimously passed the proposal into law in a mere six days.  Imagine that!

According to the proposal for the first celebration, parades and speakers would exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor unions.”  Eventually all workers were honored by this day, not just union members.  And those workers are everywhere.  They may not all be great, but they are there.  Even if you complain about poor service, long waits or non-responsive attitudes in the workplace, you still value those workers out there with whom we interact as we live our lives:  teachers and day care works, gardeners and maids, gas station attendants and waitresses, military personnel, stay-at-home moms/dads and entrepreneurs, babysitters and lemonade stand owners, farmers and mechanics, computer geeks and programmers, carpenters and plumbers, production workers and managers, bank tellers and finance advisors, medical personnel and firefighters, store clerks and service providers, even lawyers and insurance agents and administrators and politicians.  The list could go on and on.

We like to have services available 24/7 and to be  able to order most anything online and have it appear at our doors within a few days.  We trust we can call 911 and get a response or get help during a traffic accident.  We appreciate being able to drive-thru so very many fast food places, often late at night. We complain about the cost of gas and unsavory interactions with car salesmen, but we love the variety of cars we can buy and that gas stations are found on so many corners.  All of those conveniences require workers!

This year, with ongoing budget woes, high unemployment rates, and attacks on unions across the land, it seems especially important to remember that this holiday is more than the end of summer and the start of football season.  This year, while you celebrate, take a minute to say THANKS to all those workers who make our lives a little bit better! For me, the surgeons who got me through 4 major surgeries will always be my heroes.  But there is also the tow truck guy who waited to make sure the place could work on my car and then drove me to my hotel.  The mechanic who fixed something simple on my car that was making a huge noise and just said, “No charge.  Have a good day!”  I could name others, like the pizza delivery guy! Please share a little about some of the many workers you value and appreciate!

To help you celebrate, here is a great video to sing-along with:  Dolly Parton singing the title song from the movie Nine to Five:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, “Here live a great streetsweeper who did his job well.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.

 Far and away the best prize that life offers is to work hard at work worth doing.    Theodore Roosevelt

 You’re only as good as the people you hire.  Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds

Comments on: "It’s Labor Day: Praise the Workers" (8)

  1. What a wonderful well documented post about Labor Day. Thank you for the information. My husband and I could not have made it during his parents last years without the help of round the clock care given by Barbara, Ruth and six others on rotation.
    Another time a gentleman towed my car from the south end of our city to the north end of our city on a Saturday night and delivered my car to our local car repair telling me who to call and how to make arrangements. I certainly wrote a letter to Allied Towing Services praising his courtesy and attention to my safety.
    On this Sunday, “God loves a cheerful giver” and there are many who give. As I coordinate communion this Sunday morning, I am grateful that all our stewards will be available this Sunday to fulfill their roles.
    I post on Sunday and Thursday. Tonight’s piece reflects on student employees, and one in particular.

    • Thanks for sharing, and reminding us of the church workers and volunteers who do so much valuable work for the community–in addition to those who are paid. I will watch for your post later in the day.

  2. Thanks for posting this, Patti. We all need to be reminded why we celebrate specific holidays!

  3. In response to the potential of more strife, Congress unanimously passed the proposal into law in a mere six days. Imagine that!
    I’m trying very, very hard to imagine this, but it’s not coming to me! :0

    I love the perspective represented here. I’m grateful to have the work I do, and for the people whose efforts brought me the abbreviated, relatively safe days I spend at the office. That, for me, is well worth celebrating. (As is “Nine to Five,” which is another reminds me of watching the movie of the same title with my mom! It’s the only song I’ve sung karaoke since returning to L.A. in ’08.)

  4. Patti,
    Well done. It seems that our political parties have stuck a dagger into the meaning of this day. Oh sad. Although we have a proud past, times do change. Then again, history does teach us many lessons. Hope all is well with you.

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