Labor Day Weekend: Staying Home

Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper's illustration; September 16, 1882: first American Labor parade, held in New York City on September 5, 1882.
The first American Labor parade, New York City: September 5, 1882. (Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper)

These days, the first Monday in September is Labor Day.

Officially, it’s when we “honor the energy and innovation of working Americans”: and, maybe, unions.

A Proclamation on Labor Day, 2023
(September 1, 2023)

“I have often said that the middle class built this country and that unions built the middle class. On Labor Day, we honor that essential truth and the dedication and dignity of American workers, who power our Nation’s prosperity….”

“… I … hereby proclaim September 4, 2023, as Labor Day. I call upon all public officials and people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities that honor the energy and innovation of working Americans….”
(Joseph R. Biden Jr., Briefing Room, Presidential Actions, White House)

Unofficially, it’s the last day of summer: when many Americans take vacations and/or pull out of their lake places.

I expect to see a familiar boat or two parked in back yards next week.

This household doesn’t own a boat, or a lake place, or spend a week at one of Minnesota’s vacation spots. We’ve only had so many resources, and that sort of thing wasn’t a high priority: although I do have good memories of when my parents rented a cabin on a lake.

Anyway, my staying home during Labor Day weekend was business-as-usual. We just don’t, for one reason and another, travel.

I did, however, spend a few minutes on the front stoop Sunday afternoon, reading part of a chapter in “Alice Through the Looking Glass”. Early Sunday afternoon.

There’s a Heat Advisory out for this area.

And, although I don’t mind a little summer warmth, there are limits. Sunday afternoon was one of those times when I felt as if I could work up a sweat, just blinking my eyes.

Labor Day: A (very) Little History

From Harper's Weekly, via Chicago History Museum and Wikimedia Commons, used w/o permission: Haymarket riot (May 15, 1886)Heat, last week’s Hurricane Idalia and this weekend’s Typhoon Haikui (Hanna?) are causing trouble.

But I haven’t run across anyone fuming about Labor Day not being on or near the first of May: or being an anarchist plot to subvert American values. I’ve said this before: I do not miss the “good old days”.

I thought of writing about labor movements, the eight-hour day, Second International, and other once-dire threats. But I’m probably still getting over last month’s monumental prescription SNAFU — and it’s been an overly-warm weekend.

So I’ll express a few opinions, add the usual links, and leave it at that.

This is not

  • The Gilded Age
  • Progressive Era
  • Roaring Twenties
  • McCarthy’s heyday
  • Sixties

Trade unions are no longer threats to The Establishment. They have, arguably, long since become part of the dominant social group. The folks who run unions have, at any rate.

Yes, I’ve heard of the current Writer’s Guild Strike. I don’t doubt that there are inequities, and think that folks who create content should be both recognized and compensated.

Let’s see. I’m missing something. Hurricanes. Right.

The 1935 Labor Day Hurricane’s Wikipedia page “has multiple issues”, mostly having to do with style, quotations and external links.

Like Hurricane Idalia, the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane hit Florida.1

My guess is that this is because hurricanes happen, the part of the world that Florida is in gets hurricanes: and that Idalia will, inevitably, become part of the current presidential election fracas’s fewmet-flinging.

Which I am not enjoying, and that’s another topic.

Anyway, I said there would be links. The common theme is a more-or-less-brief discussion of the Haymarket affair/riot/incident:

1 History, hurricanes and all that:

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About Brian H. Gill

I was born in 1951. I'm a husband, father and grandfather. One of the kids graduated from college in December, 2008, and is helping her husband run businesses and raise my granddaughter; another is a cartoonist and artist; #3 daughter is a writer; my son is developing a digital game with #3 and #1 daughters. I'm also a writer and artist.
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