Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day

by Doyne Phillips, Managing Editor

On this date in 1882 the first Labor Day in the United States was observed. Ten thousand workers involved with the Central Labor Union of New York took unpaid time off to march from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. This spread to other cities. The idea of a workingman’s holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September was observed and legislation was passed in some states to officially recognize it.
It wasn’t until twelve years later, after the American Railroad Union led Pullman Strike in which more than a dozen workers died at the hands of Federal Troops and U.S. Marshals, that consideration for a national holiday by President Grover Cleveland was considered. The legislation was rushed through Congress in only six days. The first Monday in September remained as the date to distinguish it from the International Worker’s Day in May. Now worker’s rights could be celebrated and Labor Day observed with pay.
Originally the pattern of celebration was set to include a parade followed by a festival for the workers and their families. Later on speeches were introduced. Today Labor Day weekend has become a prominent place for politicians to begin or continue their campaigns. Labor Day has also developed into family time to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of school.
Labor Day, like so many of our holidays, celebrates our rights and freedoms as Americans. These rights and freedoms were achieved only after the sacrifice of our fellow Americans who felt the call to lead the way. Because of their sacrifice we have the freedom and opportunity to pursue our individual paths in the workplace today.
No matter how you celebrate this holiday our staff wishes you and your family a great Labor Day. We also hope that you make our labor of love, Southern Writers Magazine and Suite T a part of that.

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