BRADENTON -- The Labor Day holiday has become an iconic weekend in American culture. It signals the close of summer, the start of football season and has been said to be the last weekend of the year that it is fashionable to wear white. But its roots are in the bloody struggle of the American working class and its real meaning should not be forgotten.
Labor Day first became a U.S. holiday in 1894, following the bloody Pullman Strike. It was a time of great unrest between American economic classes and the holiday was ultimately recognized in an effort by President Cleveland to ease relations with the labor class.
Internationally, Labor Day is celebrated on May 1 or "May Day," in observance of the lives lost in the Haymarket Affair in Chicago. The U.S. chose the September date in an effort to distance the holiday from the contentious feelings surrounding that emotionally-charged incident, which had occurred just eight years earlier.
Over the last four decades, many of the victories of the working class that have historically been celebrated on this holiday have eroded and with them, the true meaning of the holiday has somewhat eroded. This year, be sure to think about the abundance of physical toils that are still required to provide the services and luxuries we often take for granted.