Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Day Weekend: Do we work or play?

Isn't this a holiday weekend, where we rest, relax, or just have fun at play? So why do we call it Labor Day? What was the reason for this national holiday celebration? Well, if my great-grandfather were living today he could have shared his experiences from that time in history. You see he worked on the railroads in Virgina back in the early part of the 20th century.

George Alexander Allen was born in Virgina in March of 1880. He would work 10 hour days on the railroad when he was old enough to work. Back then wages for a day were considered adequate to the times, yet a dollar for ten hours of hard labor sounds absurd. In 1919 as he turned twenty-nine, he married my great-grandmother Agnes Day Shaw who was seventeen years old. Together they raised a family which included one boy and three girls. Not only did my great-grandfather celebrate the first Labor Day holiday, he continued continued until he retired in his eighties.

Yes, he was in his eighties when he retired. I remember him as the gentleman behind the counter at the cash register in my grandfather's bait and tackle shop. I was about 8 years old. That's another story in itself. For now, I'd like to thank him and all of the other American's who worked so hard for us to have the things we have today. It took a lot of "blood, sweat, and tears," no doubt to work as some of our ancestors did before the many advancements in modern technology.

So why do we celebrate the first Monday in September as Labor Day? In recognition and honor of all those early Americans whose hard labor helped build our country. There are hundreds of thousands of people today that also labor for our country, they too are seldom recognized and appreciated, for all of you ... past and present ... thank you.

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