Keep this in mind when you’re drinking beer around the campfire this weekend.
For most people, Labor Day means an extra day off, which means more time at the campsite and more time in the outdoors. If you were to ask the average person what Labor Day actually is, you might get something like, “I don’t know…celebrating work or something? Not sure…grab me another beer.”
Labor day is indeed a day to celebrate the fruits of labor in our country. From steelworkers to nurses, we should raise our glasses to the hard work that has built this nation. But it goes deeper than that. Labor Day is a celebration of the American Labor Movement. Did you know that in 1850 the average work week was almost 70 hours? That didn’t leave you much time to do anything other than work. Good luck planning a camping trip. Many small movements fought to change this over the years, but it wasn’t until 1937 that the American Labor movement secured the 40 hour work week, which created – THE WEEKEND.
Ahh…the weekend. Two days for you to fully actualize your potential. Your dreams are realized. For two days you get to live the life you’ve always wanted. You can get in your car and drive wherever you wish. You can lay in a hammock and contemplate the fact that the brain you are using literally comes from the stars you are looking at (maybe that’s just my thing). The point is, the time is yours.
Back in the day, you didn’t have this luxury because no one was stopping your boss from making your work until your hands fell off. Thanks to the American Labor Movement and the Fair Labor Standards Act, you are legally entitled to a work schedule that won’t drive you to an early grave. This same movement gave us overtime pay as well. If you have to work a long week it makes it more tolerable if you are making better money, right?
I realize there are still fights that need to be won. That said, remember that there is a direct connection between Labor Day and the outdoor recreation you so dearly love. Without it, you wouldn’t have the time to drive around every weekend checking off that outdoor bucket list.