Labor Day marks end of summer, start of football

Published 9:47 am Thursday, September 1, 2022

Monday is Labor Day and according to some folks the official end of summer.

That could seem a bit of a misnomer for us here in the South, where we judge summer by how hot it is and understand that those high temperatures have been known to continue well into November.

I guess the reason some people believe Labor Day marks the end of summer is because children go back to school in September and football season begins. Of course in this day and time children have been in school almost a month before Labor Day. I guess school starting in September is a memory left to Baby Boomers like me and those who are older.

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The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1882, in New York City. It became a national holiday on June 28, 1894, when President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September of each year a national holiday.

In the past, Labor Day has been celebrated with public celebrations and some communities have held parades and fireworks displays. I remember growing up in Baton Rouge, one of the TV stations would sponsor a fireworks show on Labor Day weekend.

We no longer celebrate Labor Day the same way. Families and friends will get together for barbeques and other activities, and folks will go to the beach or the lake to have one more big outing on the last big holiday before Thanksgiving. And a lot of us will enjoy the weekend glued to our TV sets as college football kicks off a new season.

If you’re hanging around the house looking for something to do this weekend, take some time to visit the Vicksburg National Military Park or some of the city’s museums — it’ll give you a chance to re-learn some history and give the kids an outing.

But no matter what you do, take a little time to remember the people who are not sitting at home enjoying the holiday.

At one time, businesses shut down for Labor Day to give their employees a chance to have a day off and enjoy the holiday with families. That practice has long since gone by the wayside and a lot of stores remain open with some even holding special sales. So take some time to think of those folks working to stock the shelves with those holiday necessities. They’re the reason you can get that last-minute bag of chips or paper plates or soft drinks.

And don’t forget the first responders — the police officers, deputies, firefighters and paramedics who are working their shifts on Labor Day. These are the people who ensure we can have a safe Labor Day and are there for us when there’s a problem. If you see them during your weekend trips, give them a wave or a thumbs-up to thank them for the job they do.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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