"Labor Day differs in every essential way from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day... is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation."

From the Internet, I learned that Labor Day - the first Monday in September - is a creation of the labor movement. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. The day is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

In 1884, the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday endorsed by the Central Labor Union in New York. The Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow their example and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations.

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From those local ordinances developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but Oregon was the first state which passed the law in 1887. Through the years, the nation gave increasing emphasis on celebrating Labor Day.

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday and became the pattern - a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and spirit of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

Later, a resolution by the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, adopted Labor Sunday - the day preceding Labor Day - dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. Hmmmm... the precepts of Labor Sunday seem to have taken a backseat in the modern day holiday celebrations.

Our farmers, our fisherman, workers in factories and those in the front line of major companies and industries struggle meeting the demands of the complexities of our economy and mind boggling policies of insurance, medicine and so much more that bombards us daily. Our nation was founded by governing for the people, by the people. Therefore, it is appropriate that we pay tribute to the stamina of the American worker, creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom and leadership.

I hope everyone had a thoroughly satisfying Labor Day holiday. But most of all, I guess my hope is that all of us who work to meet daily demands and obligations find time to love, appreciate and find beauty in every single day.

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