In recent years Labor Day has lost some of its old, and original, meanings, but it still stands as the one day in which we celebrate an important American belief. This belief is in the importance and necessity of hard work to achieve success. Once a holiday tied to the militancy of the Labor movement, Labor Day now honors all who work.
Oregon was the first state to recognize Labor Day officially on February 2, 1887. President Grover Cleveland signed a congressional bill on June 28, 1894, making Labor Day a legal holiday.
As labor and management moved closer together and the U.S. workingman’s stand of living rose above that of any in the world, the tie between Labor Day and labor unions gradually diminished.
It has evolved especially into a family festival – the last big celebration of summer, vacation’s end, the final fling before the start of a new school year, and end of summer and prelude to fall. It has become not just a day, but a weekend – a time for taking to the out-of-doors for trips, picnics, and sporting events. It is an occasion of togetherness and a time, too, for remembering the multitude of abilities and efforts that made this country great.
from Celebrations: the complete book of American holidaysby Robert Myers available at the Gardiner Public Library.