Stop And Re-Charge

No doubt Week-Enders have plans to “stop and re-charge” during the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Some plans may be elaborate and some may be simple, but the bottom line intention is one that hopefully is common to all: it’s time to stop and re-charge.

That’s right, this weekend is considered the last hoorah of the summer--one last time to get the gang together for BBQ and beverages before the school year and holidays limit everyone’s schedules from doing so.

So no doubt millions of Americans will be off this weekend to celebrate the American worker--which was the original intent of the holiday when it started back in 1882, though much of the original meaning is lost to most Americans. At the time, they wanted to demonstrate the strength of the burgeoning American labor movement and inspire improvements to working conditions.

The first U.S. Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, planned by the Central Labor Union. The Labor Day parade of about 10,000 workers marched from City Hall to 9th Avenue for a concert, speeches and a picnic.

So, flash forward to today and millions of American workers will be off to enjoy the weekend with family and friends. However, there will be millions more who aren’t off because they are in jobs that require them to be working while others are enjoying time off.

Therefore, as we move into this weekend I’d like to pay tribute and say thank you to the American workers who will be working on Labor Day. I’m sure I won’t remember everybody and all categories, so I’ll ask Week-Enders to jump in and add anybody I left out.

I’d like to thank:

  • Those in our military services who are far from family and friends keeping the wolves from our door.
  • Those who have to work on this weekend because they are first-responders such as police, firefighters or emergency services or other essential services, standing by to help their fellow Americans.
  • The people who serve in our medical professions, in hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms--I’m talking about everybody from doctors and nurses to the custodians and volunteers who keep our medical services there for us.
  • Those in the public service community--including parks and recreation--who will be working while the rest of us have fun.
  • Those in the sports and entertainment industry who also tend to be working while others are relaxing--they may make it look easy to keep us entertained and amazed, but it’s a lot of work.
  • Those in the transportation industry who keep the cars, planes, trains, boats, trucks, buses and other modes of transport going--goods and people still have to be picked up and delivered on holidays and they’re out there doing it.
  • The folks in the retail and restaurant business who have their Labor Day sales and specials that draw us into their establishments for their goods and services.
  • Those in the utilities industries who keep the lights on, the toilets flushing, the ovens hot and the fridges cold.

Now I am sure I forgot somebody and I won’t be offended if someone points that out to me. However, any omission is unintentional and if I could just generalize for a moment, I would thank anybody I forgot.

As for the millions of us who will be enjoying the fruits of their labor, I hope we can do our part and just be a little more polite and a lot more patient. Be more appreciative, give compliments and good tips, and smile instead of frown. If they are out there laboring, we should help them to be successful at it.

Randy Gaddo, a retired Marine who also served for 15 years in municipal parks and recreation, is now a full-time photojournalist who lives in Bay Minette, AL; he can be reached at (678) 350-8642 or email