Something for each of us to reflect upon this Labor Day: In the 19th century, a typical employee worked 12 hours per day, seven days per week.

But are those reflections, as sobering as they are, at the forefront of our thoughts?

Labor Day this year is fraught with myriad meanings for us all. For those who have labored during the pandemic as essential workers. For those who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For those who, even now, are awaiting benefits due to them. For the underemployed, struggling to make ends meet. For those who have seen their means of employment vanish, possibly never to return.

Such thoughts and concerns will consume many of us on Monday, and because of this our community holiday will not be typical at all. But this not need be entirely negative.

Today, many people recognize Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer.

One hundred and thirty-eight years ago, 10,000 workers marched in New York City to recognize the contributions of men and women in the workforce, sparking future improvement for America’s laborers.

This, and upon those who are trying to meet current employment challenges, are where are thoughts need to be on Monday.

Perhaps it has taken a pandemic to remind us of this.

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Tom Mayer is the executive editor of Mountain Times Publications, a group of five news newspapers, six websites and one monthly periodical in the High Country of North Carolina.

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