How better to start a Labor Day column than with Mark Twain's famous line, "I love work. I can look at it for hours." The New York Times, which always knows things like this, says the first Labor Day parade was in 1882. Labor and we have changed a lot since then.
Back then a lot of us worked on assembly lines--Henry Ford's contribution to the economy. Automation has replaced a lot of those jobs, thank heavens. I had one once and it wasn't much fun. If fewer of us work on lines, more of us work in offices. Union membership declined with the old factories, though of course some office workers are union members too--the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, for example.
Education matters more now. My father had a grade school education, like a lot of men his age, but they held down jobs that made enough to raise a family. That's harder now. Degrees and certificates, the trappings of formal education, matter more than they did in my dad's day or, probably, in mine.
So, much changes. But one important thing doesn't. We celebrate this honoring of work, of labor, mostly by taking the day off. Works for me.