You may get the impression that Labor Day is a political or military holiday. The U.S. Department of Labor provides this bit of historical background:
Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.
So Labor Day is actually a celebration of the average working American - that's me! And here's Rosie the Riveter, an icon of the American working spirit.
I can't help but think about my Dad on Labor Day. Dad only had an eighth-grade education but was an intelligent man. He grew up on a farm in Iowa where there was never a shortage of work to be done. After his service in WWII, he held odd jobs until he went to work at Olin Chemicals - Blockson Works and worked there over 33 years. He told me he once that he never made over $8.50 an hour. Volunteering for overtime is what helped to make ends meet. And imagine, my mom didn't work outside the home until after I graduated from High School. Dad didn't believe in credit cards either. But we had a nice, if modest, home and all the normal "things" needed at that time.
My parents always stressed the importance of education in my life. They insisted that I take "business" classes such as typing and shorthand so I'd have a means of supporting myself. I decided that accounting was what I wanted to do for my career after taking one such class. My dad saw me graduate high school and college. He was also there as I went on to earn an MBA, pass the CPA exam and get firmly established in the working world.
All those years of laboring in a chemical factory caught up with Dad in late 1996 when he was found to have advanced lung cancer that had spread to his brain. He died just four months later. So I can't help but salute him on this labor day, 16 years later. Thanks, Dad.