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Labor day
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We have succeeded in destroying the meaning of our holidays. Christmas is not about celebrating the birth of Jesus anymore; we've turned it into a celebration of receiving (and griping when it's not what we wanted).

Thanksgiving is no longer about giving thanks. It's about eating too much without a word of thanks to anyone, including the cook.

Labor Day was originally set aside as a day to honor workers, particularly union workers.

They still have Labor Day parades up north, but they're not the big events they once were.

That word, labor, is defined by Webster's Dictionary as "physical or mental exertion."

Physical exertion has never been my cup of tea. That's why I did not choose that career path. Of course, if you read this drivel on a regular basis, you can see that I also live on an unpaved street of mental exertion.

But I have a great admiration for those who are good at both forms of labor.

I was eating lunch with a friend of mine the other day when a group of guys who work for an electric utility came in. It was one of those days when it was 100 degrees in the shade and these guys had been out there in a bucket truck doing some kind of electrical work.

I was glad that there were guys who would go up in a fiberglass bucket wearing big, thick insulated gloves and would do what needs to be done to keep the lights and, most importantly, the air-conditioning on.

I also went the other day to a place where they warehouse frozen chicken. Inside the big freezer, the main area stays at a less than pleasant 10 below zero.

Imagine going to work in your T-shirt on a 90 degree morning and you walk inside and it is literally 100 degrees colder.

These folks wear long handles and parkas at work in August.

I could go on all day about all kinds of people who work hard. You'll find them in kitchens, garages, manufacturing plants, hospitals, public safety departments and countless other places where hard work is routine.

There are many of them will be working on Labor Day because their job demands it.

And lets not forget that there are hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters who are on duty in places like Iraq, where the high temperature is about 115 and the low, if you can call it that, is about 90. They will definitely be laboring this Labor Day.

We don't have to look too far around us to see the fruits of someone else's labor. We don't think about it when we crank the car, reach over and turn on the light or go to the store and find a plentiful supply of food.

So, the point of all this is to ask that you might take one brief moment on this Labor Day weekend and be thankful for what someone's work has meant to you this week.

Folks toil everyday, some of it backbreaking some of it mind stretching, and it makes a difference for us all.

So here's to you, the toiling workers, for your efforts today and everyday. We might not say it, but down deep we should all appreciate the efforts.

I really don't do much, but in order to get a column to you there are dedicated folks who edit it, print it, bundle it and deliver it.

I've got the easy job, thanks to all of them.

Harris Blackwood, a native of Social Circle, is on the editorial board of The Gainesville Times. Send e-mail to