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Labor Day Thoughts from A Disabled Blogger

Hello. and a Happy Labor Day to you. Do you remember the reason we celebrate Labor Day? Have we forgotten the real meaning behind Labor Day? With all these 'memorial' holidays in honor of hard workers in the U.S., we sometimes forget the specific meaning of these days...
  • On Memorial Day (last Monday of May), we remember the men and women who died in service to our country.
  • On Veterans' Day, that was established on 11 November (Armistice Day), we celebrate the men and women that make this country great by their service in our armed forces.
  • On Labor Day (first Monday of September), we remember contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country.

Some important facts about Labor Day:

  • In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.
  • In 1887 Oregon became the first state of the United States to make Labor Day an official public holiday.
  • Congress, at the urging of Cleveland in an overture to the labor movement, passed an act on 28 June 1894, making the first Monday in September “Labor Day.” It was now a legal holiday.

Some great quotes in honor of Labor Day:

  • “Work is no disgrace; the disgrace is idleness.” – Greek Proverb
  • “Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • “A man is not paid for having a head and hands, but for using them.” – Elbert Hubbard
  • “Before the reward there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.” – Ralph Ransom
  • “It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.” – Theodore Roosevelt, U.S. President

Thoughts from someone who is disabled...

For years, since I was a teen, I was part of the work force proud to hold down a job and contribute to my workplace and community as I worked in retail, fast food, entertainment, non-profit, Christian ministry, and even interned at Disney World. Four years ago I was in London, United Kingdom, studying for my M.A. in Museums, Galleries and Contemporary Culture with the plan to start my own non-profit to bring the arts to children in hospital and hospice. 

When I got extremely sick and had to come home, where I've been recuperating the last four years (almost), I believed my dreams had died. I felt devastated and heartbroken to be at the mercy of others and unable to take care of myself. I had days when I couldn't even get out of the bed, a nurse came to bathe me a couple times a week, and I was unable to drive for several years only recently starting to drive locally.  It was horrible to have Social Security employees tell me that I was capable of work (when I applied for disability) and I'd laugh bitterly. How was I supposed to work in my condition? If I could, don't you think I'd be doing my best to start up my non-profit? 

All that to say, I admire each and every man and woman who is capable of work and engaged in work even if it is menial. A man and/or woman who takes a minimum wage job to support their family is a hero in my book. Next time you see a city employee picking up trash on the side of the road or spot men and women bent over (for hours!) picking fruit and vegetables -- give thanks to God for their hard work and labor.

And don't ever think that disability payments (which I thankfully now have) enable a cozy living with Medicare Part B payments taken out of the initial payment and a little over $1k left to pay for medicines, Part D payments, medical deductibles, not to mention housing and food. If it weren't for my parents, I don't know what I would do.
xo Joy