This will appear in the Bernice Banner, Bernice, Louisiana, USA the week of 9/1/2014.

Many of our American holidays are based on a specific calendar date. Christmas is all ways on December 25th and Independence Day is July 4th. Other holidays are based on when a certain day falls on the calendar. Memorial Day falls on the last Monday of May and Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Our most recent holiday, Labor Day, falls on the first Monday of September; but what exactly is Labor Day.
Labor Day is a national holiday that celebrates the accomplishments of the working men and women in the United States and their accomplishments to the economy of the United States. But where and how did Labor Day begin.
On May 4th, 1886 a peaceful demonstration for a standard eight hour work day was being held in Hay Market Square, Chicago. The demonstration also protested the killing of several protesters by police the day before. During the demonstration someone threw a bomb at the police. This prompted the police to open fire and the subsequent confrontation ended with seven police killed and four civilians dying and many more wounded. Several anarchist that were promoting communism were convicted of conspiracy and hanged. This demonstration is believed to have been the catalyst that led to the May Day celebrations for workers around the world.
A proposal was made that the United States have a holiday to celebrate the workers of America. President Grover Cleveland was worried that celebrating the holiday on May 1st like other countries would lead to commemorating the riots in Chicago and thus the communist party. In 1887 the holiday was established but fell in September instead of on May 1st. By establishing the day on a Monday instead of a specific date, the workers were guaranteed a three day holiday.
The holiday has taken on even farther meaning to the labor force of America. Since there is an extra day available for shopping, Labor Day is identified as the second largest shopping day associated to a holiday behind Christmas’s Black Friday. Ironically, many individuals associated to the retail business are required to work on the day that is identified to celebrate their efforts.
Labor Day also has significant cultural implications to our great nation. It is the week end that signals the beginning of college football plus the week end that signifies that the NFL looms in front of us and will begin on the next Thursday. When I was in school it identified the beginning of High School. With the addition of air conditioning to the schools in the deep south, the beginning of school is now being pushed up to mid-August. High society once saw Labor Day as being the last day to wear white until the following summer. Labor Day is also viewed by many as the end of the summer vacation period.
Regardless of the history and meaning of the holiday, one thing is apparent; for the majority of working Americans this holiday is a well-deserved day off and gestures the end of summer and the beginning of fall activities.

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