Labor Day gives locals a chance to catch up on rest
For The United State’s employed, September’s first Monday means celebrating the societal and economic contributions of the work week with Labor Day.
The holiday shines a spotlight on hard working men and women of by invoking parades, store sales, rest, and relaxation.
While not every worker gets the day off, the Americans who strap on their boots each and every morning deserve to be honored.
The United States is not the only country that celebrates Labor Day, but only Americans celebrate the holiday on Sept. 1. Labor Day also sees its origins in the United States with “the first Labor Day celebration being on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City” and later becoming a fully “national holiday in 1894,” according to the United States Department of Labor.
Meanwhile, state after state approved Labor Day until “a total of 24 states enacted Labor Day legislation in 1894.”
Congress, seeing that only the District of Columbia and other territories had yet to approve Labor Day, made Sep.1 a national holiday.
Who founded Labor Day is an everlasting debate. Some point to “Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor” as the founder, according to the DOL.
The DOL also states that “Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, New Jersey, proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York.”
While its parent remains unknown, one can say for sure the worker celebrating holiday would not exist without the help of the states and citizens.
The United State’s full time labor force is approximated between 127-158 million by stat sites such as www.infoplease.com and www.statista.com; The United State’s part time labor force is approximated at 26 million by the two sites.
Out of roughly 300 million, almost 50 percent of Americans are paying taxes, giving back to their communities, and spending time away from home because of work.
Labor Day, again, does not guarantee all workers a day off.
The inability to take time off sparked the concept of Labor Day Weekend which starts the Saturday and Sunday before the official holiday.
With a much larger portion of employees having weekends off, Americans have the opportunity to watch or join in on the Labor Day Parade and festival.
Being present on the original 1894 celebration, the Labor Day Parade is one of the holiday’s oldest traditions and continues to this day.
Various cities host Labor Day parades (the biggest being in New York City) each with bright colors, marching bands, and various festivities.
The parade’s original intent was to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations of communities,” as listed by the Department of Labor.
The origin of the Labor Day Sale is unclear but considering the always implied day off, stores have likely been having sales for as long as the holiday has been around.
With the holiday making free time for so many Americans, major stores like Amazon, Target, Macy’s, Best Buy, and Walmart among others push out major sales for the crowds that now have time to stop by the store and spend money.
One of the more sentimental values of Labor Day lies in the holiday’s title as “the unofficial end of Summer.” Many fall sports and activities begin after Labor Day, and the school year beginning around Labor Day is not uncommon.
Labor Day marking the Summer is an age old tradition that has followed the holiday.
Over a century later and Labor Day is still making sure America’s hard workers are remembered.
Those who pay the taxes that keep the country running, those that take care of the ill, those that open businesses, those that teach youth, and the citizens in between have contributed to the well-being of the nation.
Labor Day Monday gave Polk County’s work force the opportunity to hit the snooze button, and with 24 hours of free time on their hands, the hard working men and women of Polk chose to spend the holiday in very different ways.
Brandon Graham, 18, is a full time videographer at Miura Manufacturing where he writes, films, and edits any video the company requests.
“I mainly make marketing videos,” said Graham. “But I used to do a lot of training and conceptual videos to help new employees.”
Labor Day marked the young editor’s third off day in a row, but Graham spent his 3 day weekend editing.
“I’ll use the extra free time to edit a music video my friend Nathan Echols and I shot earlier,” said Graham. While videography is his job, Graham genuinely enjoys putting together videos. “I make Youtube videos in my spare time, but I’m also a freelance editor so I do projects upon request.”
For Miura’s own videographer, Labor Day was another day of doing what Graham enjoyed.
Susan Alexander, 36, got some time off from her usual job as an accountant thanks t o Labor Day and hoped to spend it doing “nothing but genuinely relaxing,” said Alexander.
“Being at the office 40 hours a week gets to be exhausting when you don’t really get to use your vacation days anymore,” she added.
Alexander is a mother of two, and chooses to save vacation days for emergencies rather than vacations.
“With two kids you never really know when you’ll have to skip work for the doctor, and I get sick sometimes too,” she said.
The busy accountant was looking forward to Labor Day so she could “just sit down and watch some television for more than a couple hours before I fell asleep.”
Thanks to the holiday Alexander is likely more refreshed and ready for the work week ahead.
Brandon Whitehead, 18, is getting 4 consecutive days off thanks to Labor Day. At T&R fixtures, Whitehead works several hours longer than a normal employee, but the young worker is offered Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off in exchange.
LaborDay marks 4 free days for Whitehead who intended to “just relax and enjoy my weekend off of work. I might go swimming and all of that good stuff.”
Whitehead spends a lot of his spare time outdoors long boarding, walking, and filming. September’s first Monday meant Whitehead didn’t “have to reserve any activities for next week,” and that he simply got “to do what (he) wanted when he wanted.”
Jim Harold, 61, is fully retired but still benefited from Labor Day.
“I t was l ess me about me getting a day off and more about my children getting one,” said Harold.
“The plan’s to gather at my house and have a big cook out with all the friends and family.”
Cookouts are a tradition at the Harold household, and as long as the family’s schedule permits it, the event happens annually. “I like to grill and nothing brings the family together like food and a day off.”
Logan Williams, 15, saw Labor Day as a chance to forget about school and sleep in.
“I don’t work, but since my teachers get Labor Day off, I get to sleep past 6 a.m. for once,” joked Williams. “I’ll probably just play some video games and lounge around a bit. I don’t really have any school work to catch up on or anything.”
Williams is currently in his sophomore year of high school.
“I got everything done ahead of time, so I didn’t have to work over the long weekend,” said Williams.
It’s another solid year until the next labor day, but Polk citizens seemed to have made the best of their day off.
Between working on miscellaneous projects, relaxing, indulging in hobbies, or having a family gathering, the first Monday of September meant the work force got to what they wanted for a day.