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Americans Prepare to Celebrate Labor Day


The Labor Day holiday in the United States falls annually on the first Monday of September. It is meant to commemorate the hard work and dedication of individuals in the American workforce. Since it became a national holiday in 1894, it has become a large part of the American culture. VOA's Tony Budny has the story.

Labor Day means many things to many people. In the holiday's earliest days, Labor Day meant fighting on behalf of the worker. In the United States, President Grover Cleveland declared a Labor Day holiday in 1894 after pressure from organized labor unions.

Most countries celebrate Labor Day on May 1st to commemorate the day in 1886 when labor unions in the U.S. and Canada established the first eight-hour work day. Today, Labor Day involves less protests and more celebration.

For many, like Washington, D.C. resident Marla Vrendley, Labor Day is the end of a relaxing summer. "I usually have big projects that I was supposed to do over the summer and I never do them over the summer, so I usually end up doing them all on Labor Day."

For retired school teacher Bud Feasel, the meaning of Labor Day has changed. "For me, Labor Day always meant I had to work. I taught high school for 35 years and school always started the day after Labor Day., which was usually the time when the crops were all picked and everyone would start school. Now today, school starts a lot earlier and so Labor Day becomes the first holiday that we have in the school year."

Traditionally, many Americans travel on Labor Day. The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that more than 34 million people will travel for their final summer holiday. That will lead to crowded highways and airports. But do not expect the crowded conditions to spoil things. Americans will celebrate with parades and picnics all across the country in appreciation of their labor.

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