Monday, September 05, 2005

Original Labor Day

Can't Sleep. Just prior to writing this post my wife and I were awakened at 12:30 AM by someone claiming to be from the gas company. Through our phone intercom he said there was a service disruption in the neighborhood, and requested access to our residence. Being the somewhat typical, wary city dweller I declined to open the door, and he said that someone would return in the AM. I then proceeded downstairs and attempted to light a burner on our gas cooktop, and sure enough no gas! Arrgghh! I suppose I should have let the poor fellow in, so he could check the gas appliances, and ensure our safety. This got me thinking about Labor Day, and all of the hard working people across the globe, many of whom provide some kind of 24/7 service. To most of us Labor Day is a last chance long weekend to pursue leisure, and summer activities prior to returning to school or work. I have never really reflected upon a deeper significance for Labor Day.

In 1898, Samuel Gompers, head of the American Federation of Labor, called it "the day for which the toilers in past centuries looked forward, when their rights and their wrongs would be discussed...that the workers of our day may not only lay down their tools of labor for a holiday, but upon which they may touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it."

So this Labor Day as you water ski at the lake, cycle down the coast, sip a mint julep, or watch a sports event on TV, take a moment to consider those often unrecognized workers who labor diligently to support their families, help society, and make the world a better place. That person might even be you, or the man from the gas company in the middle of the night.

Have a great Labor Day everyone!

Statue of the Laborer
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