Labor Day: History, Impact and Family

Labor Day: History, Impact and Family


Beaches, parades, picnics, and leisure time.  All these come to mind when we think of Labor Day.  But Labor Day is more than just a holiday to end the summer.


Labor Day is the product of the 19th century when our great country grew rapidly due to the Industrial Revolution. With this growth, companies started taking advantage of their workers with unsafe work conditions and low pay. Workers soon felt the need for a day to celebrate their hard labor. Labor activist, Peter McGuire, proposed the holiday in 1882.  In 1894 after railroad workers went on strike in an effort to protest wage cuts.  President Grover Cleveland ordered 12,000 US soldiers to disperse the strike which sparked violence. After widespread backlash from Americans, Cleveland declared that the first Monday of September to be a federal holiday. Since then all of the hard work of generations of Americans is celebrated on this important holiday.


Our seniors are from the “Greatest Generation”, known for their hard work.  Labor Day is a time to find out more about their work and their lives.  This is a great weekend to create a living history of them focusing on their work and career.  To create this history, ask a lot of questions.  Possible questions are:


  1. What was your first job and how did you get it?
  2. How old were you when you got it?
  3. What were you paid? Figure out what that amount would be in today’s dollars.
  4. How long were you on that job?
  5. What did you like or dislike about it?
  6. What impact did it have on your future jobs and career?
  7. What are some of the jobs you liked best and least? Why?
  8. Did your parents’ jobs or careers have an impact on yours?
  9. In addition to your parents, who else had a significant impact on your career?
  10. What was the biggest change you saw from the start of your career until the end?
  11. What are some of the things you remember most about your working life?
  12. When did you first think about retiring?
  13. What do you like best about retirement?
  14. What do you think your grand-children should know about working and a career?


We here at The Seniors’ Answer hope you and your loved ones have a happy and safe Labor Day.