Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Labor Day

A couple of days ago was Labor Day here in the U.S. After enjoying an extra long week end I found myself wondering what Labor Day was really all about anyway. For my family it meant an extra day off to get things done around the house, hang out with friends, and BBQ. But what really is Labor Day? I'm sure I could ask my 9 year old - he probably knows. But, for me it's just been too long since learning about it in school so I decided to look it up.

Observed the 1st Monday in September, Labor Day actually originated from Canada. A U.S. labor leader witnessed a "labor festival" while visiting there, and decided to bring the idea back to our country. New York was the first state to observe Labor Day in 1882, in the aftermath of a messy labor strike that ended in death for a number of workers. President Cleveland was all about coming up with ways to bridge the gap between the American worker and the government so he quickly decided to back the idea of a day to celebrate the worker. 

Interestingly, over the years the true meaning of Labor Day has been all but lost. I mean, I knew it had something to do with workers and labor unions, but really how many of us really pay attention to what we are supposedly "celebrating" on the 1st Monday in September? For me it's always been about the last week end of summer and another day to do 'whatever', and honestly, it still is that for me.

After re-learning what it's really all about, I found myself wondering... do they have holidays like Labor Day in Africa? Hmmm... I really don't know, but somehow I seriously doubt it. I am absolutely positive there are workers in Africa who work harder than I can even imagine, yet they don't get a "day off" to just relax and enjoy life. Another reminder of just how blessed we are to live in this nation of prosperity! 

With that in mind, I've chosen the rest of this week to remember the African worker - the farmer trying to provide for his family, the school teacher trying to give children the knowledge they need to live a better life, and the local care giver who gives so sacrificially of her time and energy to help AIDS patients who can't travel the many miles to a clinic for simple treatments that can prolong their lives. These workers are true heros in my book, and I feel incredibly fortunate to play even a small part in helping them. They deserve a 'labor day' - a day off to enjoy whatever they want to enjoy. Sadly, they will likely not get it this side of heaven, but I know there are ways we can all help and Hoops of Hope is incredibly blessed to be a part of some of them.


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