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Relax, it’s Labor Day

Monday is Labor Day, and it’s somewhat ironic that a day devoted to celebrating the American workforce is a day that most of us strive to do anything but work.

That’s perfectly OK. In fact, that’s kinda what the holiday is all about.

According to the Department of Labor, Labor Day began in the late 19th century when activists pushed for a federal holiday to recognize the contributions American workers made to bolster the country’s strength, prosperity and well-being.

It was during the height of the Industrial Revolution when people were working long hours every day of the week and labor unions formed in an effort to promote better and safer conditions for workers.

Its origins can be traced to representatives from two labor unions, both of whom take credit for establishing the holiday.

It was first celebrated in New York City on Sept. 5, 1882, planned by the Central Labor Union. By 1894, 23 additional states adopted the holiday, which was signed into law as a federal holiday in June of the same year by President Grover Cleveland.

In a way, the national holiday was created to help placate protesting masses and keep the wheels of progress turning, according to History.com.

Now, Labor Day also signals the unofficial end of summer. It’s the last hurrah as people enjoy a three-day weekend filled with gatherings of family and friends highlighted by serving all-American favorites like grilled hamburgers, hot dogs and all the trimmings.

These gatherings follow very much in the spirit of the holiday. The original plans called for a parade to show the strength of labor organizations, followed by a festival for the amusement of workers and their families.

Decades later we really haven’t strayed too far from those plans. As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

While we definitely enjoy the opportunity to amuse ourselves on Labor Day in Southern Nevada, the holiday also seems to usher in the fall season when cooler temperatures beckon us to spend more time in the great outdoors.

And that’s exactly what we do. This month brings us the return of the Best Dam Wine Walks in downtown and Wurst Fest. In October, we have Art in the Park and the Boulder City Chautauqua to look forward to.

Plus there are plenty of high school sporting events to attend and cheer on your favorite Eagle — or any Eagle for that matter. Football, soccer, tennis, girls volleyball, girls golf and cross-country have all returned to action.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend or in the coming weeks, make it a labor of love. And devote a moment or two to thank those whose long hours, sweat and tears paved the way for the rest of us workers to celebrate the ability to labor without having to labor at all.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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