“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.”— Martin Luther King, Jr.
Labor Day was first granted legal status by the State of Oregon in 1887, but the date was listed as the first Saturday in June. That same year New Jersey, Colorado, New York and Massachusetts also adopted the holiday and proclaimed that it be observed on the first Monday in September. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill recognizing the first Monday in September as a national holiday.
Today we recognize the upcoming three-day weekend as bringing the unofficial end of summer, the start of school, a last trip down the shore and busier times at work.
The initial idea for Labor Day as a general labor festival may have originated in Canada in 1872, which today also celebrates “Labour Day” on the first Monday in September. Our holiday traces its roots back to 1882 when Peter McGuire, a union leader, suggested that there be a celebration honoring American workers and organized a parade in New York City. Initially that morning, few people showed up and organizers worried that workers had been reluctant to surrender a day’s pay to join the rally. But soon the crowds began flowing in from across the city and by the end of the day it is estimated that 10,000 people had marched in the parade and joined the festivities afterward in what the press dubbed “a day of the people”. McGuire said that there was no particular significance to the date and it was chosen because it fell roughly halfway between the 4th of July and Thanksgiving. This holiday is a continuing national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country
Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday – a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” in the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. So, enjoy a day off, but take a moment to pay tribute to America’s labor force.
** The 10th Annual and final Chad Gunther Memorial Fundraising Dinner will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the E Lounge in Cherry Hill. The event begins at 6 p.m. with an open bar and high end hors d’oeuvres. Entertainment will be provided by DJ Michael Lazar. Tickets are $85 per person. This year, the Fund will again support youth athletic programs in Voorhees and Gibbsboro as well as Bancroft Special Olympic Teams, the GVAA and the VGSA.
Reservations/donations can be sent to the Chad Gunther Memorial Fund (CGMF) at P.O. Box 404, Voorhees, New Jersey 08043. For more information, contact Peter Oteri at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** The Voorhees Animal Orphanage will hold its 23rd Annual Woofstock on Sept. 28 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Voorhees Town Center. The rain date is September 29. The event will feature festivities for animal lovers of all ages and their leashed pets. There will be vendors, food trucks, musical acts and special guests. For more information about Woofstock or the Animal Orphanage, visit www.vaonj.org/woofstock/.
** Voorhees Township is offering discounted tickets to Morey’s Piers in Wildwood. Tickets are available in the Municipal Clerk’s Office at Voorhees Town Hall. Prices vary according to the type of ticket and several options are available to residents and non-residents. For more information about tickets visit www.voorheesnj.com.