Park service employees inspecting Mount Rushmore National Memorial, South Dakota
© Universal Images Group via Getty Image
All in a day's work
For Labor Day this year, we're at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota watching park rangers inspect the 60-foot-tall granite faces of Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Over on the left, and just out of camera shot, is George Washington. Beginning in 1927, sculptor Gutzon Borglum led more than 400 workers to carve these presidential visages into the granite face of Mount Rushmore. These tradespeople were not artists—most of them were miners who had come to the Black Hills looking for gold—but they knew how to use dynamite, jackhammers, and chisels, and so they worked for 14 years carving the likenesses into the stone.
This holiday weekend, as you grill, relax, or maybe even work like these rangers and the tradespeople who came before them, it's worth noting the origins of this holiday. Labor Day was established in the late 19th century by trade unionists who wanted a day to honor the social and economic achievements of American workers. However you labor, and however you spend your day, we hope it's a pleasant one.