Last days of summer, time at the beach, a final cookout or chance to wear white pants? The calming relief of the first cool days after a long, hot Georgia summer?
Of course, all of these are true, and eating a hot dog or marching in a parade are nice enough ways to celebrate our solidarity with the long-haul truck driver or the food-service worker whose efforts help us get through our days throughout the year.
Labor Day calls on us to remember the sacrifices of those who have worked hard to get us where we are and the continued struggles of workers to make a living and contribute to building a better society.
On a personal note, Labor Day reminds me of my grandmother, hoeing in the “victory” garden she kept years after the war was over, of my dad working the night shift at the plant, and especially of the entrepreneurial spirit of my twelve-year-old, immigrant great-grandfather who snuck into this country without anyone’s permission so he could find a place to work and build a family. Thinking of their struggles and the love that gave them the courage to work long hours helps me face my own task with a lighter heart.
Labor Day reminds me, most of all, that if most jobs are neither glamorous nor high-paying, there is nonetheless a certain nobility to work that comes from contributing to the collective good. Work expresses our connectedness with the rest of humanity and society as a whole and is, like love, a force that binds us together as human beings.
So I ask you to celebrate this Labor Day with thoughts of workers in your hearts and, if you get the chance: Hug a Teamster!
Happy Labor Day!