(Archive - Week of September 4, 2004)

Labor Day of 2004
We will observe the legal holiday of Labor Day this year on Monday, Sept. 6. It honors a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our nation.

Americans have observed Labor Day for more than a hundred years, but we still don't know for sure who first proposed it. Some records claim that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, was first to suggest it. But McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged.

Some history tell us that Matthew Maguire, a machinist founded the holiday. Maguire later became the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J. , and proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York . The first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882.

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on Feb. 21, 1887. During the year four more states – Colorado , Massachusetts , New Jersey , and New York – created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment.

By the beginning of the 21st century, all states came aboard. U.S. Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.

We are expecting more than 100,000 visitors to enjoy this three-day weekend at Pensacola Beach, Fla. The sugar-white sand of the blue-green water of the Gulf of Mexico is something to write home about. The Gulf water should be about 80 degrees and the Sunshine State weather will be around 90 degrees. If I knew of a better place to enjoy in my “golden years,” I would be there. This is like being in Heaven before you get there.

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