Sunday, September 05, 2021

Labor Day - More Than You Probably Wanted to Know


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Labor Day became a Federal holiday in the U. S. under the Presidency of Grover Cleveland.  Cleveland is the only U. S. President to serve two terms that were not consecutive.  He was also the only bachelor ever elected President.  Later, at the age of 49, he married a 21 year old woman, the only President to be married in the White House.

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He sounds like a cad, but who knows.  He was a staunch opponent of Federal bail-outs, refusing to support sending aid to farmers during a drought.  He also vetoed bills to assist Civil War veterans and disability pensions.  He made the railroads give back 81,000 acres of land, and when they went on strike years later, he was unsympathetic.  His second term was filled with pre-Depression-era financial an Treasury issues.  His party abandoned him completely toward the end of is last term.  (source)

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The only thing I can see in a positive light is making Labor Day a holiday to honor the men and women whose labor developed our great nation.  It was a holiday formed to appease workers who had been on strike due to unfair working conditions, though.  Labor Day was celebrated in several states as early as 1887, but Grover Cleveland declared it a national holiday in 1894.  It is observed on the first Monday of September each year basically marking the end of summer.

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It is due to the labor movement that we have Labor Day off (well, many of us, not everyone).  More importantly, though, our ancestors are responsible for the 40-hour work week, sick days, paid holidays, and humane working conditions.  Labor Day was more of a conciliatory mandate. (source)  In today's times, people forget what it was for, instead preferring to take advantage of so-called "Labor Day sales."  The intent was to recognize the American worker.  If you are off, enjoy your day safely with a parade, picnic, family day, or whatever makes you happy.

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