Time was when Labor Day actually meant something — a day to celebrate "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor movement" in the United States. It started in the 1880s as a "day off" for the workingman. Congress voted to make it a national holiday in 1894. For most of the next century, it was a time for parades and picnics and even some pompous political speeches, all in honor of America’s workers. But that era has long since passed.
In the years I was growing up, Labor Day meant the traditional end of summer. For us kids, it was the last chance to frolic at the pool, head to the beach, or enjoy an outdoor barbecue before school began. But now, for many, school has been in session for two weeks or more by the time Labor Day rolls around.
Yes, technically, there are still 15 more days before summer is officially over. But for most of us, the reality is summer ends when school begins.
I’ll bet even the working men (and women) in America don’t think of Labor Day as a time when their countrymen honor them. Judging by what does get the most attention, Labor Day now means that the preseason football games are over and the first "real" games will soon be played.
But is that any reason to make it a national holiday?