Did you perhaps read this bit of trivia in the newspaper last week?
Aaron Rodgers, the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers, just signed a contract "extension." The numbers are staggering even in our society of overpaid athletes. The key numbers are "for four years, a total of $134 million and $100 million is guaranteed." That makes him the highest paid player in the National Football League. Being a fan of Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers and football in general, I couldn't think of anyone more deserving of the money and the status that comes with it.
But the theme of this is not football, not even sports.
We just celebrated Labor Day with all the activities available to us as the wealthiest, most free nation in the history of the world. And, we share that as citizens of the United States because we have always been a nation of dedicated "workers," producing more food per person, in the field of agriculture and more output per worker than other countries. We are blessed to celebrate the "laborer" on the first Monday in September probably because the farmer was ready to harvest his crops and the laborer was ready to start a new "work year."
For whatever the reason, it is a good time to acknowledge that work, and the willingness of industrious persons, helped get America where we are today. We are able to celebrate the laborer anyway, no matter their nationality, color, or how they got here. We are a nation blessed beyond our own understanding.
The past year's genealogical research has made me more aware of our "favored nation" status in history. My parents were born in 1909 and would be 109 years old if they were alive. They survived primitive frontier living conditions as children and committed their lives to making the future better for future generations. They witnessed the ravishing effects of the Swine Flu in the 1920s era and the displaced families that it produced. They saw the Great Depression, and survived even though the impact helped shape their attitude toward work and economic sacrifice.
They saw World War II come into American lives as our nation geared up for a war that was to be fought on foreign soil and our distance from the fighting helped protect us from foreign invasion and bombing raids. America's attitude was not to be destroyed. Maybe it would be tested, but not destroyed. And, today we still enjoy the sense of security that followed World War II. We have had Korea, Vietnam and the Cold War, but we have dealt with those threats on foreign soil. Throughout all of this, the American labor force has been our stronghold when called on to "be there."
Prayerfully we need to reflect on the occasion that allows us to go to the football games, restaurants and other activities as customers, attendees or whatever, and recognize that for every $135 million athlete there are hundreds or thousands of minimum wage workers who make the Labor Day events enjoyable for us -- they need to be remembered and appreciated, too. They might have been working on Labor Day, and if so, their efforts made the recreational aspects of Labor Day possible for all of the others who were there for pleasure.
Editor's note: Leo Lynch, an award-winning columnist, is a native of Benton County and has deep roots in northwest Arkansas.Editorial on 09/05/2018
Print Headline: Labor Day celebrates workers