Labor Day Parade – New York 1882
It’s Labor Day! Hurrah! The kids are back in school. In the North, there is a hint of fall in the air, and the leaves are thinking about changing colors. In Arizona, where I live, we can say, “Next month is October, and summer will finally be over!”
As a coal miner’s great granddaughter and the granddaughter of a mule driver in eastern Pennsylvania’s hard-coal country (see photo at right), and someone who has researched just how bad (and dangerous) it was earning a living “down in the hole,” I consider Labor Day to be more than just a reason to have picnics or for politicians to glad hand their constituents. However, in celebration of all those who labor, I am prepared to enjoy a cold Guinness and to eat Polish sausage, macaroni salad, cole slaw, baked beans, etc. with my fellow Americans.
A little history of Labor Day from The Dept. of Labor website
: “The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The CLU urged similar organizations in other cities across the country to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. With the growth of labor organizations, the idea spread, and in 1885, Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country. By 1894, 23 states had adopted the holiday, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.”
For all those who labor, enjoy your day of rest. Be careful driving, use sun screen, and watch the kiddies around the water.
Mary Simonsen is the author of several Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen re-imaginings. She is also the author of the Patrick Shea mystery series. Mary lives in Arizona.