The American Dream. While many things have changed over the years, the symbol of the American Dream remains the same- hard work, perseverance and tenacity can achieve any goal.
Labor Day was established after a series of tense, and sometimes fatal, altercations between labor unions and employers in the 1800’s (read about the Haymarket Riot and the Pullman Palace Car Company Strike in 1894, for more detail). After the deadly conflict between the Pullman Railway Company and the American Railway Union in 1894, President Grover Cleveland declared Labor Day a federal holiday, in an effort to repair relations between the federal government and American workers. It acknowledged and honored the hard work and effort of the American worker, without whom our economy, military and industries would suffer beyond repair. With the improvement in workplace conditions and legal protections for employees, the partnership between the Federal government, employers, and unions slowly improved.
Since that time, the holiday has shifted from its origins surrounding the labor movement, to highlighting the American tradition of enterprise and hard work. We hand this ideal down to our children when we encourage them to persevere and overcome adversity so they can enjoy their own successes. We show them everyday what it means to get up and push through the daily grind, regardless of the obstacles in our way. Putting one foot in front of the other, Americans continue to personify the ideals that brought the Labor Day holiday to fruition.
As many of us enjoy the extra day off work, fire up the grill, and cross the unofficial threshold into Fall, take a moment to reflect on the sacrifices of our predecessors, whose willingness to stand together and fight for a safer, healthier workplace benefited us all. It’s the labor force that drives this country forward.
Enjoy a safe, relaxing holiday!