A Labor Day Reminiscence

Looking into the Past: Labor Day Holiday

A Labor Day Reminiscence

For many DSU students, Labor Day means driving back home for a three-day weekend without any homework. It is rare that someone looks back and takes into consideration of the hardships the national holiday was built upon.

Few know it was celebrated on the first Monday in September. Labor Day is one of just ten federal holidays in the United States. This holiday pays tribute to the dedication and performance of the past, present, and future American workers.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the Labor Day holiday is, “a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.” This day is created in respect those workers who spend their lives in service for their country and its economy.

Workers in New York City celebrated the first Labor Day on Sept. 5, 1882 with a parade that was organized by trade unions. The day was celebrated with a picnic, concert and speeches. Ten thousand workers marched in a parade from City Hall to Union Square.

While the first Labor Day rally was held in New York, Oregon was the first state to institute Labor Day as an actual holiday—passing legislation to that effect 1887.

In the beginning, about thirty states made it a holiday. By 1894, the U.S. Congress voted unanimously to approve Labor Day as a national holiday, with an approving signature from President Grover Cleveland.

The first celebration of Labor Day was a street parade that was to exhibit the public and labor organizations that the holiday was meant to represent. The first Labor Day parade was also followed by a festival for the workers and their friends and families. The festival is meant to reinforce the importance of spending time with family and being grateful of the life we were given.

We often forget the struggles others experience, we should be more aware of what the hard-working labor force that roots the United States of America.