Labor Day is the de facto end of summer for most Americans. Vacations are over and the kids are going back to school. In the movie Forrest Gump, Labor Day is never specifically mentioned or directly inferred like the 4th of July. But two scenes from the movie reminded me that Labor Day probably had just passed. Do you remember the scenes?
Dorothy Harris is the common denominator as the bus driver. First she is the brash, cigarette smoking smarty-pants who welcomes Forrest onto the bus on his first day of school. You remember the scene where Forrest has trouble finding a seat on the bus. The second scene occurs a generation later when Little Forrest boards the bus. Time has softened and mellowed Dorothy and she’s traded in her cigarettes for chewing gum.
For me, Labor Day is a marker in time … summer ends, school starts, and a new season begins. The holiday weekend is a chance to catch one’s breath before the realty of living imposes itself on both the adults and kids.
Do you know the history of Labor Day?
Here are several fun facts you can use around the water cooler or tweet to your followers:
- The 1st Labor Day was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City.
- It became a federal holiday in 1894.
- President Grover Cleveland was responsible for getting the holiday enacted.
- Today, all 50 States recognized Labor Day as an official state holiday.
- Labor Day is always the First Monday of September
- PBS did a great history of labor events that lead to the enacting of the holiday. They chronicle the story of George Pullman, the workers of the Pullman Company, the American Railway Union and the labor strife that occurred in Pullman, IL back in 1893.
- The U.S. Department of Labor describes the role that the International Association of Machinists had in originally suggesting the special day for workers.
- The college football season traditionally starts the Saturday before Labor Day and the NFL season starts the Thursday after Labor Day
Labor Day certainly isn’t one of the most notable of the traditional holidays. In fact, it might be the least such in the eyes of many Americans. According to Rasmussen Reports only 15% of Americans believe it’s the most important holiday and 20% believe it’s the least important holiday. The rest believe it’s in the middle.
I believe Christmas, New Years, Thanksgiving and the 4th of July are clearly all superior holidays. I’d argue that Memorial Day is better because it starts summer as opposed to ending summer. One could argue that only President’s Day in February would challenge Labor Day for America’s least noteworthy or impactful of the major holidays.
What do you think? Or maybe you’re too busy getting back to school and ending your summer vacation to even think about it?
Next Blog Title: Core Values
Next Blog Date: September 7, 2010