Monday, September 04, 2006

Backbone of America

Backbone of America
Location: Upper State Street
Artist: Ruthie Vosberg
Sponsor: Midwest Family Broadcasting / Q106

This one seemed an appropriate choice for Labor Day – I hope everyone who had the day off enjoyed the holiday!

As you can see, this one features a waving American flag flying over an open prairie. As you can see by the bottom picture, there is a flying eagle on its left flank, and a raccoon peeking out from behind the tail on its rear right leg. There is another eagle (not in flight) on the other side and, of course, there is another painted on the forehead/horns and top of the head.

If you look at the second picture, you’ll note that there is writing inside her ears. Inscribed inside of them is the “Pledge of America.” I tried to get close-ups, but they didn’t turn out very well.

As noted above, today is Labor Day in the US (and Canada). Labor Day was first celebrated one hundred and twenty-four years ago, on Tuesday, September 5, 1882. Meant to celebrate labor unions and to recognize the achievements of the American worker, it was the idea of the Central Labor Union in New York City, which organized a parade and a picnic featuring speeches by union leaders.

Twenty thousand workers crowded the streets in a parade up Broadway, carrying banners that said, "Labor creates all wealth," and "Eight hours for work, eight hours for rest, eight hours for recreation!" Afterward, people held picnics all over the city. They ate Irish stew, homemade bread, and apple pie. When it got dark, fireworks went off over the skyline. The celebrations became more popular across the country in the next ten years. Congress made Labor Day a national holiday in 1894.

For most Americans, Labor Day now marks the end of summer and, in some communities, the last day before the start of the school year. It’s the last chance to fire up the grill and enjoy a three-day weekend with friends and family; the weekend most pools and beaches close for the season, and campgrounds are at their fullest – a final hurrah to summer….

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