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Labor Day: A better way to commemorate it?

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Todd Mizener/The Dispatch/AP

(Read caption) Thea Sauerburger of Indianapolis conserves her energy by laying down and waving to the crowd while participating in the 2011 Rock Island, Ill., Labor Day parade on Sept. 5, 2011. Thea was pulled down 18th Avenue by her cousin Eilene Stephens of Rock Island.

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Many of us are spending today enjoying the latter days of summer. I sure am. I’ve spent the last few days with my cousin and her family, visiting the Art Institute of Chicago and just simply enjoying each other’s company.

Take a moment, though, to remember why it is that we’re taking this day off. Labor Day is a celebration of the contribution of America’s workers to the economy.

The successful economy of the United States was built on people working hard, taking the initiative, and going beyond what was minimally needed for their paycheck. The rewards of this are obvious: the world’s largest economy, the amazing level of economic growth the nation has seen over the last 150 years, and the countless stories of personal success that have tied into this growth.

Those stories of personal success – people starting their own businesses, people getting ahead in their workplace, people saving their money and becoming wealthy – are part of the American story. At the same time, though, they’re examples of people putting aside their immediate desires – such as being lazy at work or spending money frivolously – and working hard for the long term future.

That’s the success that the United States was built on.

It’s also a big part of why we celebrate Labor Day. Hard work.

Enjoy the time off today.

When you return to work tomorrow, though, remember that it was hard work and frugality that built the success of this country. It’s the very thing that Labor Day was celebrating.

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Then ask yourself if you can live up to that standard and, as a result, find that kind of success for yourself. Whether it’s in your work, in your entrepreneurship, or in your frugality, you can find success only through one way.

Hard work.

No one ever said that success was easy.


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