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By VINCE LUECKE, Editor
With the arrival of Labor Day, I wonder if there is as much emphasis placed on the value of work as there once was.
I speak as someone raised on hard work and for whom labor is a big part of my life.
Farm kids don’t have to be taught the importance of labor. Farming is labor, from shoveling hog manure to tossing endless numbers of hay bales onto wagons. When I wanted to make money as a teen, I waited until our family’s hay was done and then called neighbors and asked if they needed help with theirs.
There’s not much more honest work than sweating in a hayloft.
I pride myself on being a hard worker. I still rise early and go to bed late. True, I don’t labor physically as hard as some people. Writing stories and covering meetings aren’t sweating jobs, but mental effort is still labor. Some days I’d give up my desk for the hardest of physically demanding jobs.
Perry County owes about all it has to the hard work of its founders – the men, women and children who cleared land and built homes in untamed territory. Farming remains at the heart of our county’s economy but I can’t imagine what it was like to cut a living from untamed frontier.
Labor created our hometowns. Hard work built our churches, courthouse and early schools.
We take for granted the power machinery gives us. Previous generations labored with the power of their muscles and the sweat of their brows.
Society changes and so does labor but work is work and that’s what we should honor this weekend.
Yes, there is a reverence due labor and Labor Day should be more than another summer three-day weekend to cook out and run to the river.
Labor Day should be enjoyed, but we should take time to remember the efforts of workers before us and the inheritance they gave to us. I see it as a mandate, to continue working to better ourselves, our families and our communities.
I sometimes worry too many Americans don’t work as hard as their parents and grandparents. I’m not against public aid when people are truly in need, but too many people don’t work because they don’t have to. Have we taken away the incentive of working? In some cases, yes.
Most of us, however, keenly experience the value of work.
When I see the hundreds of people, many of them young, who work hard at Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari each summer, I’m less worried we’re a nation of people in search of leisure. It’s the same for the high-school and college students who labor in Tell City, picking up trash and mowing grass.
Labor shouldn’t be a necessary evil. Maybe life would be effortless had Adam and Eve not flubbed up and been evicted from Eden. But human hands are made for work and the very best of societies thrive when their citizenry works hard, spends some, saves a little and takes satisfaction in jobs well done.