Labor Day is always a festive holiday in my hometown. People celebrate with barbecues at the beach clubs or in their backyards. It is a time for families and friends to gather together, enjoy each other's company, and share remembrances of summer days. Since I live near the Long Island South Shore beaches, beaching is a topic of interest but the significance of Labor Day is usually not remarked upon so I decided to research the history.
Each holiday or season I place antique postcards from my ephemera collection in the entranceway of my home as a decoration. Since I do not have a specific one for Labor Day, I searched the web and found the following image.
In 1894, Labor Day officially became a national holiday celebrating American workers and the labor movement. As the U.S. Department of Labor says, "It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." My grandparents, mother, and my husband's father were part of the workforce. I honor and celebrate their efforts.
"Labour will refresh itself with hope."
(a line from a vintage card)
One of my poet friends, Diane Mayr, wrote a blog post, "What Work Is," for Poetry Friday this week. You may be interested in reading the poem by Philip Levine that can be accessed here.
|On the beach of Coney Island (1901)|
Parades and picnics have marked the passage of time since the turn of the 20th century. Beachgoers flock to the shore for the last days of summer vacation whether it is sunny or not, as noted by the above antique photo card. Beside Coney Island, Jones Beach that opened in 1929 is a popular place for beaching.
While I thought I would not be a beachgoer today, my husband woke to the thought, "Let's go to the beach." Soon we will head out for the ritual trip to Point Lookout beach and then return to Rockville Centre for the annual Labor Day barbecue at the Rockville Links Club. Each year of my children's lives, we attended the festivities there. This year, my friends invited us to the barbecue that will bring back fond memories of the cotton candy cart, grilled hot dogs, an array of different foods, and a table of rich desserts. Enjoy your Labor Day holiday. I know I will.
All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.