Labor Day was created to recognize the great contributions and role American workers have played in the development and growth of this nation.
It seems fitting that we enjoy the fruits of our labor with a day of rest.
"Take rest; a field that has rested
gives a bountiful crop."
Labor Day in America
I love how every American holiday is a meaningful commemoration of an important historical event, or a tribute to a group of people whose efforts and sacrifices helped shape this nation.
"Without labor nothing prospers."
In Ireland, some of our bank holidays seem to occur just because too much time has gone by since the last holiday. Hence, some hold meaningless titles like the June and August bank holidays. The Irish enjoy time off work, but feel no urge to pause and reflect on life.
Now I know most people in America see holidays as a time for family get-togethers, a chance for barbecues and picnics, with little time spent on deep and meaningful reflection.
Nevertheless, inherent social life lessons still remain tied to each holiday, just waiting to be seized by school teachers and parents - an opportunity to teach our children about the past.
"God sells us all things at the price of labor."
~ Leonardo DaVinci
History of Labor Day
The Labor Day holiday was first proposed by an Irishman. According to some sources Peter McGuire, born in New York in 1852 to Irish immigrant parents, first came up with the idea of a day to honor the workers of America.
Other sources credit Matthew McGuire, a New York machinist and secretary of the Central Labor Union of New York, with the plan.
Either way, it seems that an Irishman named McGuire, was behind the establishment of this holiday.
"I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with
head or hand; that the world owes no man
a living but that it owes every man
an opportunity to make a living."
~ John D. Rockefeller
Parents who work outside the home, not only provide for their families but their contributions to society are immense.
Through their labor, the provision of food, shelter, clothing, medical care, education, justice, and effective government is supported throughout this country.
Without the workers of America we would not have a society where individuals can flourish, and families are nurtured.
"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity
and importance and should be undertaken
with painstaking excellence."
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
I may not be gainfully employed outside the home, but I know my labor of love as a stay-at-home mom, is a job which bestows upon me an immense amount of dignity.
My work is central to my children's well-being, their growth and development, and their future ability to one day join the laborers of America.
"There is no substitute for hard work."
~ Thomas Edison.
The meaning of Labor Day seems especially meaningful this year in the midst of the current severe economic downturn in America.
As the nation copes with one of the highest unemployment rates in its history, my thoughts are with those who are looking for work.
Unemployment leaves long-term scars on families and communities. For all those who are currently unemployed and working hard to find gainful employment, my prayer for you is that in the coming year meaningful work will find you.
Then when Labor Day comes around again in 2013, we may all pause together, celebrating the end of summer with great pride in our accomplishments.
"The end of labor is to gain leisure."
Wishing you and yours a very happy Labor Day Holiday.
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom
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