For the United States and Canada, Labor Day (Labour Day), is officially celebrated on the first Monday of September.  Other countries observe their Labor Days on May1st, or other chosen dates annually.  In the U.S. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894.  This day was to celebrate workers and improve their working conditions.  It was a day of celebration and/or rest. 

Now, Labor Day describes the last major holiday before Thanksgiving, and the last chance for a long weekend to wrap up summer activities.  Despite the high cost of gasoline, many choose to travel at least more than 50 miles from home.  It is predicted by AAA that approximately thirty-three million Americans will be on the roads between Thursday, August 30th, and Monday, September 3rd.   Eighty-five per cent of them will go by car, an estimated eight per cent will fly, and others will be on trains, buses, or cruise ships. 

If you drive, please observe speed limits, no use of cell phones or alcohol while driving, and obey the law.  State troopers will be watching, to ensure that you do just that.  Be sure all passengers are buckled up and leave early enough that you don’t have to rush to reach your destination.  Have someone riding with you to “man” the cell phone; if you are alone, just turn it off and get your messages later.  If it’s off, you won’t be tempted to text and drive! 

There are plenty of things we can do to be entertained at home or gatherings with our friends.  It is wise to stay off the roads during this holiday, which has been shown to be the second deadliest holiday of the year, with Thanksgiving #1.  Volunteering is always a great day to spend a holiday, and many folks can use the help! Should you plan a barbecue or picnic, keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot and don’t invite the insects.  Keep some insect repellent handy wherever you are, remember, West Nile Virus has hit pretty hard in places such as north Texas.  Pack the usual necessities for picnics, hiking, cookouts, boating, camping, fishing: along with insect repellent, add sunscreen, a first aid kit, sunglasses, and a NOAA weather radio, just in case of a rapid change in the weather. 

There still remain thousands of workers who haven’t found work, so let’s hope that they have something to celebrate next Labor Day – a job!  Have a safe holiday, and return home safely.