As with just about everything else in 2020, this Labor Day won’t be run of the mill.
The novel coronavirus pandemic has cast a pall over everyday life throughout our country. The more than 6 million confirmed cases of infection in the United States and more than 186,000 American deaths is a tragedy, one that won’t end for some time to come.
This health care crisis has forced all of us to alter our routines to ensure our safety and the well-being of those around us. We’ve not been able to visit relatives and friends as we would like. We’ve had to practice social distancing and wear face coverings while in the presence of others.
The pandemic has resulted in the closure of businesses, schools and churches. It also has led to the cancellation of numerous events.
Many municipalities will not hold the Labor Day parades they usually offer each year. Large gatherings for this holiday will need to be scaled back considerably or scrubbed out of concern for everyone’s health.
However, this doesn’t mean that Labor Day needs to be forgotten this year. This is a time to recall the profound contributions of the U.S. labor movement to our nation’s history and the how much we rely on American workers.
In fact, the experiences we’ve had to endure through the pandemic offer an opportunity to reflect on the tremendous efforts that workers have made. Under the most trying circumstances, they’ve continued doing their jobs incredibly well.
Ellen Emery of Bombay writes the Over Coffee column for the Courier Observer, our sister publication in Massena. In Wednesday’s edition, she commemorated all those whose work enhances our lives despite the pandemic.
“Labor Day is the opportunity we have to pay tribute to the workers in the community for the contributions they make. I feel that this year more so than any other, it is crucial that we honor our workforce — those who are providing the needed services so we can stay safely at home. Each store that provides curbside pickup is appreciated,” she wrote. “How can I adequately thank the health care workers, those on the frontlines including doctors and nurses, first-responders, firefighters and police officers? Our local doctors and nurses in offices and hospitals are there for each of us, too — caring for us, answering the telephone with concerns, adjusting appointments and addressing medical concerns the safest way possible. Many are providing telemedicine visits. Dentists and hygienists now treat patients through new cleaning and disinfecting procedures. How grateful I am for each one who is working so hard to provide safe care. I am so grateful for those who are wiping shelves and counters clean and disinfecting surfaces. Teachers and school staff are working diligently to make sure schools are within compliance to keep our children safe. As we begin to venture out, each one at a drive-through window masked and in readiness is appreciated, too.”
Let’s follow Mrs. Emery’s wonderful example and express our gratitude for the people who have gone far beyond the call this year to ensure we have the goods and services we need to keep us safe, fed, clothed and otherwise adequately supplied. Labor Day is a good time to honor everyone who toils to keep our society moving forward. And this year stands out in recent history as one in which we can marvel at the extraordinary things they’ve accomplished.