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Holiday weekend celebrates contribution of workers across the country

This Monday celebrates Labor Day across the United States.

For many in the area, this represents the last three-day weekend to participate in the grand tradition of getting together with friends and family around the backyard grill while the weather is still warm enough to do so. For others, it’s a good time to stay home and put their feet up. During the pandemic, many may choose the latter option to mitigate the risk to relatives who may be more susceptible to the virus.

But what is Labor Day? Sure, federal holidays like Memorial Day and Veterans Day are fairly self-explanatory. Columbus Day? No secret there. But Labor? What’s that about?

While there is some academic dispute over who originally proposed the idea for the holiday, what isn’t disputed is that it was and still is a much-needed break for the American worker halfway between Independence Day and Thanksgiving. Connected with the labor unions of the late 19th century, the holiday began with a parade to show the solidarity of the workers in cities and towns all over the United States. Today, many places still hold parades to commemorate the holiday.

By the time Labor Day was recognized as a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states (out of only 44 at the time) had already adopted it as a public holiday. Unfortunately for some, the bill making Labor Day a federal holiday only applied to federal workers. In the 1930s, labor unions were still pushing for strikes to ensure that workers were given the holiday.

As the holiday has evolved into its modern interpretation, many retailers host Labor Day sales events to give discounts to their workers and customers. For many, the sales on Labor Day can even rival Black Friday in terms of sales.

So, relax at home. Travel before the price of gas goes through the roof. See your friends and family. Offer a friendly greeting to those stuck at work. Above all, make your Labor Day a good one.

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