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Labor Day time to pause, enjoy

When we say it’s Labor Day weekend do we really give any thought to the actual meaning behind the observance?

To me, it’s the exact opposite of laboring, instead a time to take it easy, relax and picnic or party with family and friends as the final “hurrah” of summer.

But then again, that was the original intent, a well-deserved respite for “laborers” — a break from daily work in an effort to rejuvenate.

From a historical standpoint, Labor Day goes back a long way, to the first holiday recorded on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City, before having the holiday officially designated as the first Monday in September in the year 1884.

The day began as the creation of a labor movement dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers, constituting a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.

So when we observe the traditional holiday this weekend thoughts should drift to that context at least as a way of acknowledging what the day is all about.

Other than that it should continue to be savored as one last extended weekend before fall and more vigorous school-related schedules set in.

For many, that will mean picnics and backyard get-togethers, or traveling to out-of-town destinations to savor time with family and friends.

On that note, make the most of the upcoming Labor Day gathering in a safe, responsible manner.

The message that has been echoing through the various media campaigns is back again, encouraging everyone to refrain from drinking and driving.

It’s a good message.

Listen to and heed it.

National, state and local law enforcement officials have been driving that point home and will continue their ramped up ‘safe and sober’ campaign through the Labor Day weekend with an increased presence in an effort to do away with impaired driving.

Statistics show that alcohol use and not wearing seat belts continue to be key factors in traffic related deaths.

So, in that regard it is important for everyone to approach whatever they do over the Labor Day weekend with a large dose of common sense which will go a long way in ensuring and promoting safety.