On the first Monday of September every year, the United States pauses to honor its workers and the contributions they make to our nation’s prosperity. On September 5, 1882, more than 10,000 men and women paraded through the streets of Manhattan to celebrate the first Labor Day.
New York’s Central Labor Union organized the day of celebration in honor of the workers who fought to secure higher wages, shorter hours, and better working conditions for laborers. It was a day of celebration, but also a day of sacrifice; the workers sacrificed that day’s wages to demonstrate their commitment to gaining fair compensation for hard work.
This year, the COVID-19 pandemic has created new challenges for working people, problems unlike anything we have seen in the past. While millions have for months been working from home to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus, hundreds of thousands were called upon to fight the disease. Emergency personnel and medical professionals put their lives on the line to aid the sick and comfort the dying, and indeed, hundreds of health care workers have paid for their dedicated service with their lives.
And then there are the millions of others, many of them working in low-paying jobs, who stepped up to keep the country going.Food still has to be grown, processed, delivered and sold, so others can eat. Mail still needs to be transported across the country, sorted and delivered. Those who keep the power plants and water treatment stations going are no less important to the survival of the rest than are political leaders across the country who organize a response to the spread of the Corona Virus or find new ways to obtain scarce protective gear and medical supplies.
“In this hour of need, the world has once again witnessed the unbeatable strength of the United States of America,” said President Donald Trump.“All across our land, heroes have raced into action. Doctors and nurses are enduring sleepless nights to save every possible life. Farmers, truck drivers, and grocers are working to keep our shelves stocked and our people fed. Families are helping neighbors in need, and entire communities are rallying together to defeat the plague,” he said.
“But it’s a tribute to this country and the people of our country what they’ve been able to do and the amount of lives that have been saved.”