The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on September 5, 1882 when 10,000 workers took an unpaid day off to march, picnic with their families, and listen to speeches in Wendel’s Elm Park. The average work week at the time consisted of 12-hour days, seven days a week. Children as young as five or six could work in factories. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894.
Today’s Labor Day is still celebrated with parades. It is also celebrated by many families as the last summer weekend and a time to get away before school starts again. Although the pandemic has reduced travel in the US, it’s estimated that 42 million Americans are traveling this weekend. The trips