Like many of you reading this, I will be celebrating Labor Day with my family. Despite the dismal weather forecast, we will grill our dinners outside, go for a couple of boat rides, do some fishing, and the little ones will likely roast some marshmallows around the campfire at night while we adults sip on a beer or two.
What most of us won’t be doing is giving any thought whatsoever to Labor Day. Because Labor Day, whether accurate or not, is often viewed as one of those manufactured holidays that, while we are happy to enjoy the fruits of a day off from work, most of us really don’t have a clue about what we are ‘celebrating.’
Don’t worry — I’m not going to give you the history of Labor Day. If you’re interested, you can look it up on the internet.
But I do think that Labor Day is also an opportunity to show some respect for those who do work on Labor Day, and most other holidays for that matter.
The tens of thousands of families that will travel to Northern Michigan this weekend will all be traveling home and back all weekend long. That means that an army of fast food workers will be away from friends and family as they clean dining rooms and cook burgers and fries for hungry travelers.
Convenience store clerks will be slugging down endless cups of their own coffee to try to stay awake on the midnight shift.
Gas station attendants will be somehow keeping track of a dozen pumps while watching warily for drive-a-ways.
At hundreds of small, family owned restaurants, waitresses and cooks (many of them family members) will be on the job to feed us at all hours.
Speaking of armies, nearly all of our military will also be on the job, here at home as well as overseas.
With all these vehicles on the road there will also be thousands of police officers on duty patrolling the highways to keep us safe from drunk drivers. They’ll be directed by dozens of dispatchers and 911 operators trying to prioritize the thousands of calls they’ll field.
And there most certainly will be several accidents this weekend with all the boats, cars, games, campfires, kids and alcohol that will be at play and in play in ‘celebration’ of Labor Day. That means we will certainly need another army of ambulances drivers, EMS personnel, and doctors, nurses, cooks and aides at the dozens of hospitals and emergency rooms across the state.
On these same roads will be thousands of truckers logging millions of miles in the dead of night while we sleep peacefully.
There will be a squad of janitors at each of our schools spit-shining the last of the floors before the first day of school on Tuesday.
And, let’s not forget the dedicated staff at the Times who will be working to collect and compose the content of the very newspaper you are reading so that it can be delivered directly to your doorstep by a 12-year-old paperboy or girl dreading the end of summer, or a driver working a weekend second job to earn a few extra dollars to pay the bills.
To all these people, and many more, I say a heartfelt thank you for giving up your weekend to make my, and my family’s, weekend a little more enjoyable.
Opinions offered in If I Were King are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Tri-County Times or its staff. Email the King at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some content adapted from the internet.