For many of us, the national holiday of Labor Day is nothing more than a day off work. Yet, the very origins of this day hold much more value than is often credited. Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September of each year. The government-recognized holiday was first celebrated as early as the 1800’s, specifically 1882 in some states, while each of the states of the union quickly followed within the next several years.
The holiday stems from the labor unions of the time and is credited to have been started by two different men, Peter McGuire and Matthew MacGuire, both of which were influential labor union leaders. Peter McGuire wanted to honor those individuals “who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold” (“History of Labor Day” 2014). The intention of celebrating Labor Day was created to recognize the countless hard working individuals throughout the country who had continually striven to put forward their best efforts in building up a great nation.
The intent of the recognition of Labor Day is to celebrate the common man, those that often work tirelessly, with very little recognition, but are given a day to celebrate their individual and group accomplishments. Although these accomplishments are often overlooked, they continue to play a significant role in the betterment of the United States of America. The holiday honors primarily the blue-collar workers of a country that from its very foundation sought to offer opportunities to all who lived within their boundaries. The U.S. Department of Labor states, “It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership – the American worker” (“History of Labor Day” 2014).
Labor Secretary Tom Perez stated on the departments 2014 Labor Day webpage that, “The basic bargain of America is that no matter who you are, where you come from or what you look like, if you work hard and play by the rules, you can make it” (Perez 2014). This truly American-based ideal stems from the very beginnings of the country as set by the Founding Fathers that the freedom to choose for oneself and the belief that hard work reaps positive benefits for all is deeply rooted in the American Dream.
“History of Labor Day.” U.S. Department of Labor. U.S. Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.
“Labor Day 2014.” Labor Day 2014. U.S. Department of Labor, n.d. Web. 01 Sept. 2014.