The 3 Day Labor Day Holiday Weekend!

Today is Monday, September 4, 2017, and it is the highlight and crown jewel of the most coveted prize in the overworked American’s daily lives, the fabulous 3 day weekend! Today is the end of the Labor day Weekend, the last big holiday of the summer…For 3 whole days we didn’t have to worry about the hellish commute back and forth to work world, or our egotistical pain in the ass bosses, the snippety coworkers we have to endure on a 9-5 daily basis, or the boring routine of the same job….We are  free, at least for the weekend, of the shackles of routine! (This is a reprint of my 2015 Labor Day blog.)

Yes! We are free! We have the right to hit the road, to go anywhere and do anything that our budget allows, and since Labor Day traditionally marks the official end of the summer, most of us are bound and determined to do something fun, different and memorable! In the old days, the Labor Day weekend also marked the end of school vacation for kids, we always had to go back to school the day after Labor Day, but in these more modern times most schools are already open and holding classes already…The kids summer vacation is already gone and done with…

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So Labor Day in the year 2017 is more of a last ditch holiday for adults, and families too, as we try desperately to hold onto the magic of the warm summer days we have been enjoying. We all have one more weekend of basking in the sun, going to the beach, swimming, sunbathing, boating, barbecuing etc…Because we all know all too soon the chill winds of autumn and the beauty of the falling leaves will soon replace the idyllic summer months…..

And autumn is a fun time too, but we also all know it is a prelude to the howling freezing winds of winter, which will settle on the country with an icy grip… Snow and cold will descend with their grim reminders of reality, replace the sunshine and warmth of summer, and the view we have outside our windows will be drastically altered….There will be increased heating bills, more traffic snarls and icy roads, and that biting freezing winter weather to deal with….

But forget about all that inevitability, this is the Labor Day Weekend, let’s have some fun! Labor Day these days is all about the weekend getaway for most people, to leave their homes and pack the family in the car and take off, somewhere, anywhere….If we live in the city, most of us will visit relatives who live in the country, especially if they are situated near any body of water, but there is water in the cities too… Any lake, a river, an ocean that have any kind of boating, fishing, or water related facilities for sports like swimming or fishing or water skiing available is a bonus…

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At the very least, we will visit relatives and have family get togethers and barbecue, the last of the big 3 traditional barbecues of the summer….The first of the 3 traditional American barbecue holidays is the 3 day Memorial Day holiday barbecue, which marks the beginning of spring and is a glorious prelude to the summer…This holiday is like a rebirth, because we have escaped the icy fingers of winter and are ready to celebrate the advent of the spring, with all it’s new hopes and promises….

Unfortunately, we have mostly forgotten the original premise of Memorial Day, which was to honor the memory of all the brave soldiers who gave their lives defending this country so we could have 3 day holidays like this in our glorious democracy in the first place…American holidays are like that, ever shifting and changing and evolving, and many people still honor the memory of our fallen soldiers respectfully, especially if they have personally lost family members…But in their honor, we also party and pass on the torch that way…

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The 2nd traditional barbecue day is the 4th of July….This holiday is a glorious celebration of our great country’s birth, and at the height of the summer, we always have a 3 day 4th of July weekend replete with the traditional barbecue but also patriotic themes, parades and festooned bunting and flags everywhere, not to mention the incessant din of fireworks, both at locally sponsored and sanctioned fireworks displays and truth be told, in our own back yards…

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But today marks the beginning of the 3rd and final traditional barbecue day, the official end of the summer, the Labor Day weekend BBQ… Originally, according to my Google sources: “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a 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.

Originally Labor Day was marked by speeches by prominent men and women, as more emphasis was placed upon the civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the Labor movement…..The holiday often marks the end of the traditional summer season (although summer doesn’t officially end until September 21)….

To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers free to shop, Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers in the United States. Some buyers retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season’s Black Friday.

Ironically, because of the importance of the sale weekend, some of those who are employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor Day, but work longer hours! More Americans work in the retail industry than any other, with retail employment making up 24% of all jobs in the United States. As of 2012, only 3% of those employed in the retail sector were members of a labor union. (Oh, and FYI, in high society, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day of the year when it is fashionable to wear white or seersucker..”)

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So it seems as if we have come full circle! From celebrating the growth and strength of the Labor movement, now that union membership is at an all time low, we now just celebrate the freedom of NOT having to work, except for those poor souls trapped in the retail sector….Like Memorial Day, we have evolved and drifted away from the original meaning of Labor Day…

Still, for most people, the 3 day Labor Day weekend is the last hurrah for summer, the last chance to get away from it all, and if we aren’t trapped in the dreaded retail sector, it is our last chance to enjoy our independence from the yoke of work world, to bust out and have some fun, and since we are all Americans, we do it with a vengeance…And why not? We earned it!

To you and all of yours, Happy Labor Day!

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