Labor Day is this Monday. Frankly, it couldn’t come along at a better time.
After all, it’s been two long months since many of us were forced to forego a three-day holiday weekend when the Fourth of July had the temerity to land -- shudder!-- on a Wednesday.
Meanwhile, this whole flip-flops and humidity hair thing is getting old.
Just as Memorial Day has come to be thought of as the “beginning” of summer, Labor Day generally is considered its official unofficial end. But just try telling that to Georgia’s kids, who’ve already been back in school for weeks.
So why is Labor Day always in September? And why does this somewhat taken-for-granted holiday matter so much for America?
(Hint: It has nothing to do with car or mattress sales).
Here are the seven things you really need to know about Labor Day:
But the event that’s generally considered the tipping point happened on Sept. 5, 1882. That’s when New York’s Central Labor Union organized tens of thousands of workers to come together for a self-described “monster labor festival” that began with a parade and proceeded on to a park for a picnic, speeches and -- hey, this is America! -- fireworks.
Like Labor Day? Maybe you have a tuba player from New Jersey to thank. The success of that first event was hardly assured. Police, expecting a riot, showed up in force on the morning of the parade; meanwhile, no one knew how many workers -- most of whom would have to forfeit a day’s pay to be there -- would show up to march. Those who did reportedly remained rooted in place at first because there was no music for them to march to. While some urged cancelling the whole thing, organizers suddenly received word that “two hundred marchers from the Jewelers Union of Newark Two had just crossed (over on) the ferry,” an official history recounts on the U.S. Department of Labor’s web site. “And they had a band!” Some 10,000 to 20,000 people wound up marching that year, the DOL says.
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