Labor Day is coming up! Normally, we’re used to celebrating it with parades, barbecues, and sometimes, fireworks. Unfortunately, for this Labor Day, we will have to go without the traditional celebrations. But I think I can speak for everyone when I say we deserve a holiday – even if we can’t observe it in the usual way. So, as we approach Labor Day, let us pause and reflect on the circumstances that make this year’s holiday unique.
As you know, this year has put our workforce to the test – the essential worker and the unemployed alike. Amid the COVID-19 crisis, we are recognizing more and more that labor is what holds our communities together. Billboards recognizing the workers who maintain our essential infrastructure are replacing advertisements. TV spots thanking the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals working on the frontlines are replacing commercials. Parents taking on the extra labor of homeschooling their children feel more appreciation for teachers and school workers than ever. And many of those lucky enough to stay employed during this time are doing everything they can to help out those who aren’t. This has been a challenging time, but because we are all pulling through it together, we know there are better days ahead.
And we know that it’s our workers who will help us get there.
Of course, when and how we return to a normal, flourishing economy is uncertain. What is certain is that we will. We can be certain because our workforce is nothing if not resilient and eager to move forward.
I believe the pride and determination in our workforce is an inherently American trait. That’s how President Grover Cleveland saw it. In his presidential nomination acceptance in 1884, he wrote these words:
“A true American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.”1
Ten years later, he made Labor Day a national holiday.
One-hundred and twenty-six years later, we honor laborers past and present. Every day we work to better ourselves, our community, and our nation, is a day to celebrate. That includes yourself, those you depend on, and those who depend on you.
So, even though we can’t celebrate Labor Day in the usual way this year, it’s still a day worth celebrating. Because it’s not just about the end of summer. It’s about ourselves and our community. It’s about recognizing everything we’ve gone through and everything we’ll do. It’s about recognizing that, no matter what happens, we’re in this together.
I think that’s worth celebrating. Don’t you?
So, however you celebrate, I wish you and yours a very happy Labor Day!