This holiday weekend, join me in saluting America’s laborers, teachers and union workers by raising a glass to thank the people who make this holiday weekend possible.  Better yet, look  at the cashier, mail carrier or server and say: “Thank you. I appreciate all you do.”

Do you know the story behind Labor Day?

Most Americans think of Labor Day as the official end of summer; a time to put away the white shoes and take one last seasonal visit to the lake.

But it’s much more.

In 1882, Peter J. McGuire proposed the idea of Labor Day. A carpenter and co-founder of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters, McGuire suggested the day to honor America’s workers. In 1894, Labor Day became a federal holiday.

Why am I reflecting on this special day?

During my teens and early 20s, I worked for my father in the construction business. I learned to wield a hammer, push a broom and dig a ditch.  I even fell for the joke when I was sent to find a left-handed hammer.

In reflection, I recognize that I dismissed the skills and fortitude it took for electricians, plumbers, carpenters and dry wall hangers to complete their work in the heat of south Florida summers.

As I look around and observe the laborers, teachers and union workers who are taking care of us during COVID-19, I recognize how wrong I was to ignore the contributions of American workers.

Just this week I watched our contractor build a shelf and hang a TV in our member’s conference room.  I was amazed at his skill and mastery of his tools.  That same day when at the grocery store, I marveled at the staff as they stocked shelves and helped customers despite the potential risk of Coronavirus.

Grateful to our laborers

As the world awaits a full recovery from COVID-19 and a return to business as usual, I stand in awe of those who continue to work while others shelter at home. This year more than ever, I honor workers as Peter McGuire did more than a century ago.

Happy Labor Day!

Robert Curland
Robert Curland