|"Labor Day differs in every essential from the other holidays of the year in any country," said Samuel Gompers, founder and longtime president of the American Federation of Labor. "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day...is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
Yes that is what Labor Day stands for. True, things have changed these
days with Labor Day being celebrated with the civic events usually
associated with national holidays in America. But behind all the usual fun and fiesta
of a national holiday the Day has a unique significance.
Traditionally parades, and speeches by labor leaders and political figures, mark Labor Day celebrations.
The spirit is to pay a national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the power and prosperity of America.
The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take
were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday -- a street parade to
exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the
trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a
festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their
families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day.
Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more
emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the
Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor
convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor
Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in
recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays
and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a
shift in emphasis and medium of expression.
This being But real the spirit remains the
same. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists,
educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in
newspapers, radio and television.