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. This year, maintaining perseverance and tenacity has taken on a whole other facet. Many Americans battle unemployment, are fighting to keep their businesses alive, provide stability for their families, all while balancing the many other ways the pandemic has impacted our way of life.
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.
This year, Labor Day serves as a marker that we have persevered through roughly 9 months of the Covid-19 pandemic. The labor force has been impacted in a way never before experienced in American history. Unemployment has impacted many and business practices rapidly morph in an effort to adjust to the new normal; medical providers, business owners, educators, and essential workers in all sectors strive to continue serving the American public despite the many obstacles that continue to present themselves.
On this Labor Day, please maintain caution and continue to exercise precautions such as physical distancing, wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, and avoiding large crowds.
Let’s all 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, as well as those that have sacrificed their own health, safety, and time in order to protect us during this pandemic.
It’s the labor force that drives this country forward.