WHY DO WE CELEBRATE LABOR DAY?
Posted by blackhawkbank on August 30, 2012
Like many people, I think of Labor Day as the last holiday of summer, the beginning of fall, and the last day some fashion gurus say I should wear white. Sometime along the way, I’ve diminished its importance as a day that pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. In case you are no longer smarter than a fifth grader (and few of us over the age of 20 are!), let’s take a moment to remember the history of this day.
Oregon was the first to make Labor Day a holiday in 1887. Thirty states were celebrating Labor Day before it became a federal holiday.
- It became a federal holiday under President Grover Cleveland in 1894 as a gesture of reconciliation with labor movement leaders following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshalls during the Pullman Strike. Congress passed the legislation unanimously and signed the holiday into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.
- The first proposal of the holiday outlined the appropriate form of celebration: a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor unions,” followed by a festival for workers and their families.
- Today, the holiday is primarily celebrated with family and friends with picnics, barbecues, fireworks, water sports and public art events.
Blackhawk Bank extends its gratitude and admiration to all American workers both today and those who came before. Happy Labor Day!
Terri Burdick, Senior Vice President