Happy Labor Day!
The word labor conjures up different ideas depending on your stage of life. If you are a young expectant mother, it has a very different meaning than if you are a working mom of 4 children. This is where I am so tempted to tell you about when I went into labor with my oldest and how I was in complete denial. How Mike was timing the contractions of the girl next to us and announced very loudly, “YES, she is definitely in active labor!” But instead, I think we should talk about the significance of this day, how it came to be, and what I hope you will take time to reflect on today.
Labor Day was an idea from the union leaders to honor and celebrate the American workers. It was around 1882 that the first Labor Day celebration took place in NYC. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a law to make it a national holiday. It was a time in our history when American workers were focused on the betterment of our country. They took pride in the strength of our nation. They welcomed the opportunity to have influence over the leaders of their communities and our nation.
To hear my grandfather talk about this time in history, he would say, “It was a time when American workers were proud of who they were and what they were accomplishing.” He didn’t Iive in the late 1800s but he did live through the Great Depression. He would say, “When you have experienced that, you are happy to work for everything you have.” I loved to hear my grandfather talk about his work in the machine shop at GE in Cincinnati. I also loved to hear him talk about the first car he ever rode in and the first time he drove on Interstate 75. He drove to the end and turned around and came back. He said it was the most fascinating thing he ever saw!
Do you ever look at the infrastructure of America and recognize the engineering minds that made it happen? Do you ever look at our modern conveniences and imagine what it was like before they had indoor plumbing or electricity? These are the things I stop and think about when I think of Labor Day…I think of people who didn’t have any of the modern conveniences and technology that we have today and yet, they were so grateful to have a job.
So today, before you go shopping, can I challenge you to think about the great nation you get to call home? Notice I didn’t say perfect. I’ve been fortunate to travel to many countries, and everywhere I’ve visited, the people have been fascinated by America. People want to visit America; it’s a bucket list destination for many who will never have the opportunity to travel. People wish they had work and educational opportunities like the ones we have in America. My brother lives in a third world country; his students dream of visiting America. I challenge you to consider how great our nation really is. I challenge you to be a part of making it better, not tearing it down in words and deeds. I challenge you to be grateful for the opportunities before you…there are plenty of people who are clamoring for it and would be thrilled with far less.
America, thank you to all those who labored before our time to make this nation great. Thank you to those who are in the workforce today that make our days easier. Thank you to the mommas and the daddies raising their children to be good, productive members of our society. I am so grateful for my birthright, and I am a proud American. I know my life has been enriched by the American Worker, so today I celebrate you!
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