The Origin of Labor Day
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, always the first Monday in September, Labor Day was the idea of Peter J. Maguire (although recent research has shown that it might have been his brother Matthew’s idea), a labor union leader who in 1882 proposed a celebration honoring the American worker.
The date chosen was simply “convenient,” according to Maguire, because it was midway between the Fourth of July and Thanksgiving. Although the day’s focus on organized labor has diminished over the years, the legal holiday still marks the end of summer and the traditional time for children to return to school.
That’s the way it was when I was a kid. We’d always travel for Labor Day weekend. Some years we’d leave on a Friday and not come home til Monday night. I always remember going to the Green Stamp store, the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon to drop a few bucks in the fish bowl, and then to the K-Cinema for a Don Knotts film.
Labor Day weekend was always a big deal for us. However, we always had to be back home at a decent time because the next day, Tuesday, was the first school day of the year.
Not anymore. By Labor Day, most students will already have completed their first test, quiz, a mountain of homework, and know which musical instrument they’ll be playing.
Maybe, just maybe, if we went back to that school year schedule, we wouldn’t have to let the students out for “excessive heat warnings” in the last half of August and family’s would be able to take that last big Labor Day weekend trip like we did.
Have a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend!