Labor Day is for the everyday working man and has been set into the American calendar as a dedication to the social and economic achievements of the country. While Labor Day weekend may represent the bookend to the summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades, fireworks, and backyard barbeques, it stands as a day for workers to recognize their achievements as the backbone of this country.

Before it was even declared a holiday, the first Labor Day parade was held on Sept. 5, 1882 in New York City to host a celebration for the Central Labor Union workers and their families in order to strengthen their spirit. Five years later, Oregon State became the first to declare its observance of Labor Day, and after 30 other states followed suit, it became a federal holiday by June 28, 1894. It was legally signed into Congress as a holiday in order to appease American Railroad Union workers who were boycotting because of wage cuts. To break the strike, 12,000 troops were sent to control riots, but it worsened the situation and resulted in the deaths of more than a dozen workers. In an attempt to make peace with American workers, President Grover Cleveland and Congress passed an act making Labor Day a legal holiday.

New York, New Jersey, and Colorado were the first states to support the national holiday, and as years pass by, the first Monday in September has been increasingly emphasized throughout the country with reverence, according to the Department of Labor. Whether you decide to spend your day off at the beach, in a backyard with food and friends, take the time to reflect on why you deserve the day and how your hard work has contributed to the progress and success of the United States. The following quotes by famous Americans and workers around the world can help get you started on your patriotic pensiveness.

  1. “I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand, that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.” –John D. Rockefeller
  1. “A truly American sentiment recognizes the dignity of labor and the fact that honor lies in honest toil.” –Grover Cleveland
  1. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” –Confucius
  1. "There is no substitute for hard work.” –Thomas Edison
  1. “A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life depend on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving.” –Albert Einstein
  1. “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.” –Thomas Jefferson
  1. “I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true — hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.” –Ray Bradbury
  1. “The end of labor is to gain leisure.” –Aristotle
  1. “Work isn’t to make money; you work to justify life.” –Marc Chagall
  1. “The task of defeating Hitler may be long and arduous,” Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his 1942 Labor Day radio broadcast to the American people. "There are a few appeasers and Nazi sympathizers who say it cannot be done. They even ask me to negotiate with Hitler, to pray for crumbs from his victorious table. My devotion to our freedom, to our churches, to our country, this course I have rejected. I reject it again. Instead, I know that I speak the conscience and determination of the American people when I say that we shall do everything in our power to crush Hitler and his Nazi forces.”
  1. “God sells us all things at the price of labor.” –Leonardo da Vinci
  1. “All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive to the real values of life. The very striving and hard work that we so constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today.”Pope Paul VI
  1. “Without labor nothing prospers.” –Sophocles
  1. “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.” –Abraham Lincoln
  1. “Before the reward, there must be labor. You plant before you harvest. You sow in tears before you reap joy.” –Ralph Ransom
  1. "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work." –Thomas A. Edison
  1. “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” –Martin Luther King Jr.
  1. “A man is not idle because he is absorbed in thought. There is a visible labor and there is an invisible labor.” –Victor Hugo
  1. “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.” –Michelangelo
  1. “All growth depends upon activity. There is no development physically or intellectually without effort, and effort means work.” –Calvin Coolidge