Labor Day has arrived again, filled with picnics, barbecues, and parades; marking not only a day of rest and recognition for American workers, but the end of summer. However, things weren’t always so rosy.

In the 19th century and earlier, it was extraordinarily difficult to make a living. Most people worked twelve hour days, seven days a week, and still had trouble making ends meet. During the Industrial Revolution, even children as young as age five or six could be found working around dangerous equipment in unsafe factory conditions.

People were frustrated and angry. They wanted fair treatment.

On September 5, 1882, working men marched in support of American workers. Later, strikes and riots over the issue caused bloodshed. Yet eventually labor unions made headway in helping to improve conditions, and Congress extended an olive branch by officially designating the first Monday in September as a day to recognize the value of American workers.

Thankfully, we’ve come a long way since then, baby.

Labor Day parade 1900-Library of Congress

Labor Day parade 1900-Library of Congress

But even as we celebrate, let’s not forget that some don’t have the luxury of relaxing on Labor Day. So here’s a special shout-out to law enforcement, fire-fighting personnel, military, medical practitioners, retail workers, and all others who give us help when we need it, whether it’s a holiday or not.

We hope you enjoy your day in whatever way makes you happiest!

Winston and Bogey in a rare moment of rest on Labor Day. Just think what I could accomplish if Labor Day came more often.

Winston and Bogey in a rare moment of rest on Labor Day. Just think what I could accomplish if Labor Day came more often.

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