MY POINT OF VIEW: It’s Labor Day weekend

by Gary Kennedy

On September 4, we celebrate Labor Day in the United States. It’s a public holiday which is celebrated on the first Monday in September. Basically it honors the American labor movement and the contributions the working class has made to strengthen prosperity, laws and the well being of our great country. For most of us it is a long weekend in which we have an extra day to enjoy family and friends. Some of us will take short trips to camp and also to enjoy friends over a campfire with hotdogs and smores. Usually the weather is at its nicest at this time of year; at least I have always found that to be true. I hope I haven’t jinxed it by predicting good weather. For me the very best time for vacation was the last two weeks of August and first two weeks of September. Those have proven to be great weeks for me.

Historically, Labor Day has been a national holiday since 1894, when then-President Grover Cleveland signed the law that Congress passed designating the first Monday in September a holiday for workers. The labor unions of the time pressed to gain recognition of both the contributions and the mistreatment of the working class of the time. This as we know became a very big deal in our growth.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in N.Y.C. with large parades and barbecues. It did not begin as a national holiday but as a self activity in the streets. The Workers Movement and the Socialist party were very close during this time. It isn’t hard to see the comparison. Some good things do bear roots out of such as this. One stupid expression of the times was the wearing of white. Some historians make note that bright clothing was worn by affluent groups who could afford to leave town for warmer climates when the leaves began to change. It became a socially expected norm that the poor, who didn’t have money to take fall and winter vacations, shouldn’t adorn white after the summer season.

That sounds absurd to us today but the mindset was a lot different back then. Class was very important to those of the time. It became a volcano waiting to erupt. Eventually it did. The advent of this ridiculous rule was brought about by the affluent ladies of the time. They wanted to be recognized for their wealth and alienated from the poor classes. We still have some of that today. We seem to push forward in some areas and backward in others.

The magazine, Country Living is a very good read if you are interested in a narration of the Real Meaning of Labor Day, by Maggie Horton & Terri Robertson, updated 7-23-2023. Oregon was the first to declare Labor Day as a holiday. Labor Day is a product of the Industrial Revolution. It is a hard won example of how far workers rights have come since the Industrial Revolution. True it is a three-day weekend celebrating the conclusion of summer with a cookout with hotdogs and burgers. Also, it has become a great weekend for shopping; everything seems to be marked down. You can look forward to it every first Monday of the month of September. The date does change. In 2024 it will be held on September 2. In 2025 it will be held on September 1 and in 2026 it will occur on September 7. Now you have future dates for your calendar.

According to the Readers Digest, the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries brought a vast array of jobs and commerce to the USA. What it didn’t bring was appropriate wages, salaries, safety regulations nor common sense regarding to the length of a work week. These were the days of 12-hour days and seven days a week jobs. Also, the exploitation of children ran rampant. There were many accidents and many broken hearts. Through the suffering, Labor Unions began to fight for the American worker. Child Labor was addressed, working conditions were addressed, and poor pay was also addressed along with civilized working hours. Strikes and rallies where organized and sometimes turned violent. Eventually the realization of all these issues were acknowledged and addressed. The American workers’ contribution to the growth and welfare of the country eventually became realized. The holiday was adopted and the American worker began to receive what was deserved.

Next year, remind me to tell you a little about May Day which is similar but perhaps more colorful. For now I think I have given you an idea which you can pursue if you have an interest. Remember this; we have come very close to the adoption of Socialism. That is one step from Communism and if that scares you, it really should. These are precarious times, times in which we should be ever vigilant. When you go down that road it’s very hard to return. The proof is all around you. This is fruit for thought and not meant to throw a wrench in your holiday weekend.

God bless all our readers and have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend. Oh, don’t forget our veterans; after all they have always been part of this.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.


Responsible journalism is hard work!
It is also expensive!

If you enjoy reading The Town Line and the good news we bring you each week, would you consider a donation to help us continue the work we’re doing?

The Town Line is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit private foundation, and all donations are tax deductible under the Internal Revenue Service code.

To help, please visit our online donation page or mail a check payable to The Town Line, PO Box 89, South China, ME 04358. Your contribution is appreciated!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *