"If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool."
~ Abraham Lincoln
According to an article from Forbes Magazine, the first U.S. Labor Day was celebrated on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City, when 10,000 workers took unpaid leave and marched through downtown.
Some 12 years later, on June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday to celebrate the workers of America. However, even with that declaration, laborers still had it rough.
Around the turn of the century, according to the Forbes article, the average American worked 12 hour a day, seven days a week, and children as young as 5 or 6 worked in factories and shops. The government stepped in and set the eight hour work day as the standard for private companies with the passage of the Adamson Act in 1916.
We have come a long way since the days of that early labor movement. While some people may still be working 70-80 hours, most of us have managed to slim down our schedules at least a bit, and young children are now protected from harmful work environments.
On this extended weekend, we honor the hard working people of our community who are fortunate to have jobs this Labor Day. We hope you have a well earned day off to spend with your families.
On the other side, our hearts ache for those of you who have been able to find a job and whose every worry is about the future of your family. Nonetheless, we celebrate you and your desire to work as well.
Recently, there has been some, albeit slight and shaky, signs of an economic recovery. We can all only pray that the good Lord will keep all of us in his hands and that when the next Labor Day rolls around more of us will be able to celebrate the holiday in its full spirit.