The first Labor Day was celebrated Tuesday, September 5, 1882. However, it was not until 1894 that Congress made Labor Day a legal holiday on the first Monday of every September. Over 100 years have passed since the first Labor Day and the United States is still celebrating.
It is tough to imagine much celebration in parts of America with the official unemployment rate charting over 8%. Celebrating Labor Day when there has been no labor to celebrate might seem ironic.
Americans, however, have always been a resilient people who fight to recover and restore what has been lost. Even if unemployed at this time, one might celebrate their past achievements while keeping hope alive for the future. The U.S. Department of Labor states the creation and meaning of Labor Day concisely.
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
While it is named Labor Day most of the country will not be laboring. It is a day to celebrate working by resting. Labor Day will mean different things to different people. Joy for many, sorrow for others with a hope in tomorrow. Despite the difficult economic situation the meaning for past accomplishments should not be so easily overlooked. While there is much recovery work to do the United States is set-up for anyone to pursue and achieve a better life through their labor.
The freedom and opportunity in the United States alone should be reason enough to celebrate what was, what is and what will again be. Despite social and political disagreements and a high unemployment rate, it could be argued that America is the greatest country in the world in which to live.
Be thankful and rest on this day while considering the past and planning for the future.