The History of Labor Day

Sep 2, 2013

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Jake Wixom

A Little Lesson in History

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve wondered about the origins of some of our nation’s holidays. While we’ve always enjoyed the day off from work and school, many of us have never known the actual story behind Labor Day.

The American Working Man…and Woman…and Child

The first Monday of every September marks a tribute to the achievements and contributions of workers in America. This commemoration began to be recognized in the late 1800’s when it was set aside to honor the typical, American workers that often worked 12 hours per day, 7 days a week just to get by and provide for their families. It was not uncommon for this type of work to begin at a very early age, too. Many began working such hours before they even reached the age of 10. Eventually, labor unions began protesting and pushing for a change of pay and more reasonable hours.

More than a Parade, a Statement

The first ever Labor Day Parade was performed on September 5, 1882 by 10,000 workers who took an unpaid day off of work to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. Ever since, the first Monday in September has been recognized as a “workingmen’s holiday”. Other industrial centers across the U.S. soon joined in the movement and the holiday became officially recognized by many of the states. Twelve years later, Congress finally approved the holiday, setting it apart as a day to celebrate and recognize the efforts of the workers in America.

A Day to Remember

Today, Labor Day is a time for family and friends to get together and enjoy quality time together through sports, BBQs, and other fun activities. Whether we realize it or not, participation in these activities is a memorial to each one of us that works to make them available to the American Public. How will you spend your Labor Day?

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