On Monday, September 4, Americans celebrate Labor Day.
Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894 under President Grover Cleveland. At that time America was experiencing rapid industrialization and economic growth. Across the United States, agricultural communities were shifting into industrial urban centers. Americans had to quickly learn new skills and work long hours – and they succeeded.
Nearly a half-century later, countless Americans found themselves out-of-work as our nation endured the Great Depression. As a result, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created the Civilian Conservation Corps, and thousands of Americans went back to work. We have their efforts to thank for many of our national parks and historic sites.
A decade later, when the world was threatened by World War II, many Americans traded hard hats for combat helmets. This depleted our country’s workforce – threatening our domestic economy. In response, millions of Americans who had not traditionally been in the labor force stepped forward. Women, young adults, and retirees learned how to build tanks, ships, and aircraft so freedom could survive.
Just a few years ago, our country was threatened by a global pandemic. Businesses were shuttered and millions of Americans saw their jobs disappear overnight. Once again, Americans faced uncertainty and responded. Through innovation, perseverance, and hard work, the American spirit prevailed. For many of us, life is back to normal – or even better than before.
Throughout history and despite many obstacles, Americans have demonstrated that we can get the job done.
This Labor Day, we encourage you to reflect on the American work ethic and its essential role in keeping the United States a safe, prosperous, and free nation.
We wish you a happy Labor Day!