Celebrate the American worker

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Labor Day holiday held in honor of working people

By Stevie Lowery

“I learned the value of hard work by working hard.” - Margaret Mead

Labor Day is Monday.
The only reason you probably know that is because you get an extra day off work (hopefully), or your kids don’t have school that day.
For many of us, Labor Day is the symbolic end of summer. (Can someone please pass the Kleenex?)
However, in terms of a “holiday,” Labor Day probably doesn’t mean much to you.
But, it should.
Labor Day is a public holiday held in honor of working people.
“It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country,” the United States Department of Labor’s website states.
Did you read that? Read it again.
I especially like this part, “contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
That, my friends, is something to celebrate.
The American worker is what makes this country so great. And Marion County is blessed with thousands of hard-working men and women. Fortunately, more people are working in Marion County today compared to a few years ago. The unemployment rate continues to decline, from 13.3 percent in 2009 to 7.5 percent in 2013.
However, all too often too many of us focus our energies on complaining about the people who don’t work, rather than praising the ones who do. Well, not today. Not in this newspaper.
Today (and every day), we celebrate you – the working men and women of Marion County.
If you haven’t noticed already, this week’s edition of The Lebanon Enterprise is all about working people in our community. We want to celebrate the hard-working people of this community, and there are so many of you. Every single day I hear stories about people who are going above and beyond at their workplaces. I hear stories about countless people who are working extremely long hours, sometimes with very little or no time off. And, sure, I also hear stories about people who are not working, or refuse to work, and are taking advantage of “the system.” But, the positive stories far out-weigh the negative ones. I, for one, choose to focus on the positive, and I see it everywhere I go in this community.
During a very early morning run through the City of Lebanon recently, I watched as all of the vehicles zoomed past me. I know many of the drivers were on their way to work, probably at one of our local industries. As I ran by a few of our restaurants, I noticed several cars in the drive thru, probably getting some coffee and breakfast before heading into work. Running through downtown, I passed several city workers watering our beautiful flower pots that line the streets, and they gave me a friendly wave as they always do. (Sometimes I beg them to spray me, and they usually oblige.) Making my way by Lebanon Oak Flooring, I could hear the sounds of saws buzzing and I said good morning to several workers, carrying their lunch pales, walking into work to begin their shift. I considered making a pit stop at Woodlawn Grocery (sometimes that’s a necessity for us runners) but it was too crowded. Apparently, that’s a hot spot that opens early for workers (and non-workers a.k.a. gabbers) to get coffee, breakfast and a healthy dose of local chatter.
During marathon training last year, I would go for eight-mile runs on Wednesday mornings and I would run past Cedarwood Restaurant. Not only would I notice the immense amount of traffic going to TG Kentucky across the street, but I could also smell the aroma of bacon and I was envious of the people inside Cedarwood eating breakfast. I never allowed myself to stop, but I sure wanted to!
During my early morning runs, I’ve come to realize that there’s a whole lot going on in this community during the wee hours of the morning before many of us get out of bed. And that work continues at all hours of the day and night. This community is blessed to have so many hard-working individuals. The staff here at The Lebanon Enterprise consists of some of the hardest working people I know. Every single day I'm blown away by their work ethic, and their loyalty to this newspaper. They are an example of the type of worker that makes this community, and this country, so fantastic.
This Labor Day, I urge all of you hard working men and women to take time and do something for yourself. Treat yourself. You deserve it. And, I know as I write this that many of you will be working on Labor Day. I will be joining you. And while I might grumble and complain, I will also be thankful for my job and the freedom to do it.