Symbolic meanings of long-ago Labor Day weekend

Editor’s Note: Columnist Leo Aikman wrote this for the combined The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution editorial page of Sept. 5, 1966:

Regardless of what the astronomers, the chronologers and the calendar say, fall has come to Georgia. I know I’m rushing the season. Fall doesn’t begin officially until 6:43 a.m., Sept. 23. But Labor Day actually marks the break between the summer and the many activities which are autumnal. Like any other holiday, Labor Day means different things to different people.

For some, the day means work — for policemen, for firemen, for employes in transportation, even for some newspapermen — scribes, mechanical force, and newsboys — who must report for duty.

But for the great majority, the first Monday in September means time off — to sleep, to read, to fish or swim, to go to the golf course, the mountains or the beach.

To youngsters between the ages where truancy sets in and where it leaves off, this is back-to-school time.

But regardless of the exact day and hour the bell sounds the call to class, Labor Day is a symbol — the end of vacation days, the beginning of lesson ways.

And an old-timer can remember when Operation Head Start meant seeing who was first to the door at recess.

Be patient with your children, their teachers and the schools.

Education is still a great frontier on which strong forces are at work to break with tradition and reaction and bring real progress.

Have a happy Labor Day and send your young ones back to school intent on making the best of what the community has to offer.

Their chief lesson is that the best comes from hard work.

That’s labor.