We’ve been celebrating Labor Day since it was started by the American labor movement and became a federal holiday in 1894. The purpose of the holiday is to honor the American worker.
Labor Day also represents quite a few other less official events: it’s come to be known as the end of summer when the beach towels and surf mats are put away for another year, schools are back in high gear, football season is right around the corner and the boys of summer are straining every nerve in the last stretch to the World Series.
Labor Day is a kind of transition period. The shorts and tee shirts go back into storage and the sweaters and wind breakers come out. The deep summer green on the trees starts fading just a bit and we come to a sudden realization that Christmas season, and all it entails, is just a little over three months away.
It’s that time of year: the last great cookout of the year, the last time you’ll go home with a suitcase full of sand and a sunburn, time to be concerned with winterizing the camper, and wondering if you’re going to have to cut the grass one or two more times.
But Labor Day is to honor the folks who make the wheels go around. The American work force is as diverse as our population and has come a long way since the days of the sweat shops, the violent strike breaking and the unfair labor practices that many of the early manufacturing giants were guilty of.
When you stop and consider what America has become over the last century, you have to admit that the American work force is unequaled around the world: the super highways, bridges that cross miles of water, the skyscrapers, the railroad tracks that span a continent – all attest to the caliber and ingenuity of the American worker.
The bountiful food supply, the delivery of clean water, public transportation, our sewer systems, our police, firemen, EMTs, the internet, the farmers who cultivate and harvest the vast fertile fields of this country, the sawmills of Oregon, the car manufacturers in Michigan and the millions of eighteen wheelers that crisscross this nation every day, are evidence of a labor force second to none.
Things have changed in the last half a century. So many jobs have been replaced by technology, and we are now told that many jobs will be taken over by robots and artificial intelligence. And while this may well be true, they will never replace or emulate the spirit and the passion of the American work force.
Can a robot take pride in a product? Can artificial intelligence imagine the joy on a child’s face on Christmas morning when they open the toy they’ve just made?
Can an automated truck pull over to the side of the road to help some motorist in trouble or give a ride to a stranded soldier trying to make it home for his daughter’s birthday?
I know machines have made life a lot easier in a lot of ways and technology has shrunk the planet and made communication with anybody, anywhere in the world just a key stroke away.
And I’m all for the better mousetrap and all the other beneficial gadgets science has wrought, but, I just can’t imagine a day when a strong back and a pair of willing hands would no longer be a part of service and commerce. In fact, I don’t believe that day will ever come because when it comes right down to it nothing or no one can do it better than the American worker.
USA! USA! USA!
Here’s to all you working folks who make this great nation what it is.
This one’s for you.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America.
Charlie Daniels is a legendary American singer, song writer, guitarist, and fiddler famous for his contributions to country and southern rock music. Daniels has been active as a singer since the early 1950s. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on January 24, 2008.