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Labor Day: What Ever Happened to the Meaning

Marlene Geiser

Posted on September 1, 2019 17:52

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It occurred to me today that the people around me are not as interested in the significance of Labor Day as I remember it was in my home as I was growing up.

When I was a little girl, my mother and I used to visit some cousins who lived very near to where we did. The two members of the family that I found most fascinating were men who had been deeply involved for a long time in the foundation and growth of the American labor movement.

It's interesting to note that over the years that have passed since my childhood, Labor Day appears to have lost the significance it once had. Most Americans appear to see this day as just another holiday that, for many, provides a day off from work.

How ironic, one could argue, a day off from work, when its initiation was predicated on honoring the contribution that had been made by the workers who helped in the growth of our country.

One of the benefits that has accrued of my having reached my 84th year is that I was witness to the growth of the labor movement in this country. It was part of regular conversation in my house to discuss the labor movement and men like John L. Lewis and his leadership of the American Labor Union.

I have to wonder whether today, the average American family finds time to stop and recognize what this day is really all about.

For the readers of my article, perhaps you might be interested in knowing that the first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882 in New York City, and a resolution of the American Labor Party Convention that took place in 1909, made the decision to adopt the Sunday proceeding the holiday as Labor Sunday which was dedicated to the accomplishments of the American Labor Movement.

With this information under your belt, perhaps those of you who have young children might find it interesting in sharing this information with them.

In all sincerity, what bothers me as an ex-professor of American Politics is the general lack of interest many workers appear to exhibit in contrast to the world in which I grew up and, ultimately, taught.

 

 

Marlene Geiser

Posted on September 1, 2019 17:52

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