In many countries, the working classes sought to make May Day an official holiday, and their efforts largely succeeded. In the United States and Canada, however, the official holiday for workers is Labor Day in September. This day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre, US President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.
The 2013 Labor Day celebrations may be a bit muted. While the economy appears to be recovering, jobs are far from plentiful. Good middle class jobs just don’t pay as well or have the hours and benefits they did before. Progress is being made and many indicators point to continued improvement.
Many of us will be out celebrating the end of the summer school holiday. Here in the Phoenix metro area we know that a few days near 110 degrees are still possible. We face the month of September with nearly all days well over the century mark temperature wise. Here is a comment that seems to capture what most folks think of this holiday. Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that holiday name was already taken.
The holiday often marks the return to school, although school starting times now vary. As times have changed the back to school timing has changed and many students have already spent two to three weeks in school when Labor Day rolls around.
The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations", followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the Labor movement.
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