Here it is! The first Monday in September… the official end of summer. No more wearing white shoes (although khaki pants are still tolerable until the first snow fall).
To me, it’s really one of the saddest holidays, because it’s the holiday that signifies the last of things:
- the last 3-day weekend
- the last chance to take a camping trip
- the last swim
- the last paid holiday (until Veteran’s Day)
- the last weekend of summer
However, this holiday was established to honor the great American Worker…those blue-collar workers who have contributed to the prosperity of this great Country.
America has always had an abundance of movers and shakers to build her up during her young formative years. When going from mainly agriculture and mercantile, to bustling manufacturing and production companies, these increasing businesses also brought on greater need for lots and lots of workers.
This was a good thing, as far as providing jobs for immigrants who were making their way into the country, as well as for the increasing population. However, as history records, working conditions weren’t always the best.
In the late 1800’s, the average American worker was working 12-hour days in unsafe, and unsanitary environments. Wages were sometimes low or unfair, young children were making a fraction of an adult’s wage, work areas were often hazardous to the employees. There were no breaks, no vacations, and often the 12-hour work day was seven days a week.
However, with the help of organized labor unions, the American workers united together to protest those awful situations, and after a lot of grit, guts, and grind, working conditions were greatly improved.
In 1882, Congress officially named the first Monday in September as the designated day to honor those manual laborers.
So, go Celebrate! Enjoy a BBQ, one last swim, an evening bonfire, or an extended rest from the drudgery of your job. And on Tuesday, when you’re standing around the water fountain, or taking an hour-long lunch, or snacking during your afternoon break, take a moment to remember those who stood strong to make working conditions better for us all.
Then join hand in hand, brave Americans all!
By uniting we stand, by dividing we fall!