According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the holiday we know as Labor Day—the one that provides a day off from work and rolls around every year on the first Monday in September—was the “creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
For me, as a child, Labor Day signaled an end of summer.
For me, this summer, after quitting my J-O-B in April, my economic contributions to our country have been slim.
In further researching the origins of Labor Day, I discovered a few tidbits that made me scratch my head.
First, while I’m not surprised that New York and New Jersey were two of the first states to institute statewide holidays, I am a little surprised that Colorado was also one. Should I be?
Let’s put things in context.
Some 120 years ago, in 1894, Labor Day became a national holiday. The bill to make it such was introduced by Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota.
I know. I know. I’m showing my ignorance here. But Colorado? South Dakota? Big labor states? In the 1890s? My guess would be mining. Anyone know?
Most of us think of Labor Day as a chance to kick back and have fun. Maybe fire up the BBQ grill. Go on a road trip. Bust out the camping gear. Open a beer or two. In short, celebrate life.
If I understand the intention behind Labor Day correctly, it also encourages that we contribute to something larger than our selves. And, that is, the place in which we live. Our community. Our world.
While my economic contributions this summer may have been slim, I like to think I’ve been contributing to our social world in a little fuller way. And one way, I suppose, is by celebrating nature in photography. So, here’s a slide show (click on any of the thumbnail images above to start it) of my summer, shared not to be smug about the place in which I am blessed to live, but to encourage more love and respect for the natural world around all of us, no matter where we live.
How will you celebrate Labor Day this weekend?