In 1884, President Grover Cleveland designated the first Monday in September as Labor Day and an official Federal Holiday. In 1898, Samuel Gompers called Labor Day, “The day when toilers’ rights and wrongs may lay down their tools for a holiday…touch shoulders in marching phalanx and feel the stronger for it.” I had to look the definition of phalanax up; that’s a big word for 1898.
The definition would basically be a military formation; who knew? I overheard my two young nephews talking as our family had a labor day get together. The youngest asked the older,”What is Labor Day?” The oldest replied he wasn’t sure but he knew it meant Christmas was getting close! I think I would have douced their enthusiasm if I had explained it is a day set aside to appreciate and support workers.
These are the workers who drive our children’s school buses, ones who collect our garbage, those who daily put their lives on the line for us in the form of a police office or fireman, the ones who taught us to read and write…should I continue? These individuals, along with you and me, are who make up a community.
However, many people in our communities are suffering today, even those with jobs. The news is downright depressing! It has been a brutal year for the working class. Jobs are hard to get and easy to lose. There are 14 million unemployed in this country as I write this; that number is staggering. We live in the most privileged country in this world and many work in jobs that they barely make enough to get by. We need to have a response to this inequity. Since we have depended on these workers all these years to teach us, help us, provide for us, etc….let’s all remember that hard times create hardships and there are times that we have to help others, even though our own lives and situations may not be completely together.
There is a fine line between the haves and the have nots. You’d be surprised how much you actually have in common with the “have nots.” Why is it that I spend as much on a winter coat as some people make in a year? Why was I born into a family that had insurance, used libraries, had a car, or even something as basic as had clean water to drink? Who knows, but in this game of life, we need to remember that many of our teammates haven’t hit the homerun like we have, but it doesn’t make them any less important to the team! We all do preparation and conditioning. Each member plays a role that makes the team stronger and each position has responsibility.
Yes, we all have different styles, tastes, tongues and traditions, but that doesn’t mean we all don’t contribute. Let’s bring all the differences together and realize that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. What about you? Are you lending a helping hand? Are you helping and encouraging? Are you uplifting and nurturing? I hope you enjoyed a brief respite yesterday, but I also hope you labored a moment about the workers who help comprise the team of life of which you are a member!
Photo credit by: Î’ethan
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