End of Summer, Back to School and beginning of the football season...that's Labor Day right? What does Labor Day mean to you? If you are like me, Labor Day means a well deserved day off marking the end of summer and the beginning of the school year.
Well, just like Memorial Day, there's a little more to this holiday then that.
Did you know the before Labor Day was an official US holiday:
- The average American worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week?
- Children as young as 5 or 6 years old worked in mills, factories and mines across the country?
- People of all ages faced extremely unsafe working conditions with insufficient access to fresh air, sanitary facilities and breaks?
Due to these circumstances, labor unions were formed to fight for better working conditions, hours and pay. The labor unions organized strikes to protest the long hours and low wages, and many times these strikes resulted in violence. Labor Day was created after the deaths of more than a dozen workers when the US government dispatched troops to break up a strike on the railways. In an attempt to repair ties with American workers, Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday.
Labor Day is celebrated in cities and towns across the United States with parades, picnics, and other public gatherings. For most children and young adults the holiday represents the end of summer and the beginning of the school year. When our children ask what we are celebrating on Labor Day, don't forget to tell them a little bit of history. Yes, Labor Day does falls at the end of summer and the beginning of the school year, but it also a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well being of our country. What will you tell your children about Labor Day this year?