While teachers and students may not be happy to have the reminder, the Labor Day holiday marks the unofficial end of summer, even though the calendar gives us a few more weeks. For many, Labor Day means a day off from work, a last trip to the beach, a family barbecue, or even shopping for school supplies. But, have you ever given any thought as to what Labor Day actually means or how it came about?
Orange County Director of Employment and Training Administration Steve Knob and I would like to share some of the history of Labor Day with you from his colleagues at the United States Department of Labor. The first Monday in September is recognized in the United States as Labor Day. It was created by the labor movement in the late 1800s and dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. Its purpose is to pay national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
More than 130 years after the first Labor Day observance it remains unclear as to who first proposed the holiday for the workers. It is clear, however, that the Central Labor Union of New York adopted a Labor Day proposal and adopted a plan for a demonstration and picnic which were held on September 5, 1882 in New York City. The Central Labor Union urged others around the nation to create a "workingmen’s holiday" on the first Monday of September and by 1885 industrial centers throughout the country celebrated Labor Day. By 1894, more than 30 states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
Once marked with street parades, festivals, and speeches saluting the accomplishments of the worker, the way we observe Labor Day has changed over the years. Despite those changes, our commitment to the American worker remains steadfast. It is this vital labor force that has built our economy, enhanced our standard of living, and supported our strength, freedom, and leadership. I am exceptionally proud of Orange County Government’s Team Orange and the work County employees do each and every day to support and serve the residents of this great County. They are a driving force that makes things happen here. I greatly appreciate their commitment to public service and wish Team Orange a very happy Labor Day.
As we close out August and ready our children for the return to school, I want to remind families that August is National Immunization Awareness month. The purpose of this health recognition month is to highlight the need for improving national immunization coverage levels.
To protect your child, at any age, make sure he or she has the immunizations required to protect against serious, and sometimes deadly, diseases. If you’re not sure what shots are needed at what age, check with your health care provider, visit the Healthy Orange website at www.healthyorange.com, or call the Orange County Department of Health at 568-5237.
Best wishes to all for a happy Labor Day and good luck to our students for a happy, healthy, and successful school year.
Until next week, I wish you all health and happiness.