Try to Remember the Kind of September

The Central Labor Union began celebrating Labor Day in 1882 as a way to give a day off to "the working man." It is celebrated the first Monday in September. Originally celebrated with a parade to show the strength of trade and labor unions, it later became a tradition for politicians to make public speeches on that day, and currently, we celebrate with fireworks, holiday sales, and picnics and barbecues. It became a federal holiday in 1884.

Labor Day is generally how Americans mark the end of summer. It also denotes the beginning of football season, with the NFL playing their first game the Thursday following the holiday, and the NCAA playing their first football game of the season during Labor Day weekend. Jerry Lewis has been holding his Muscular Dystrophy telethon on Labor Day weekend since 1966.

Rules of fashion dictate that white shoes should never been worn after Labor Day, except by brides and tennis players. And in the cowboy world, it is tradition to wear a straw cowboy hat before Labor Day and a felt cowboy hat from Labor Day until Memorial Day.

The September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States is commemorated every year on that date. On that day, suicide bombers highjacked 4 commercial jet airliners. They intentionally flew two of the jets into the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City, and a third into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. A fourth airliner was re-taken by the passengers of the plane and crashed into an empty field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. All passengers on all four planes were killed, as were people in the buildings which were targeted. In all, 2,974 people were killed, not counting the 19 highjackers. Additionally, 24 others have been presumed dead. The attacks ushered in the War on Terror and the USA Patriot Act, as well as a wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq.

September 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates its independence on September 16, and Chile does so on September 18. What better month, then, to declare Hispanic Heritage Month! In 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, it was expanded into a month long observance, from September 15 through October 15. During that month long observance, we celebrate the culture and traditions of Hispanics. According to the United States Census Bureau, the word "Hispanic" refers to people in the United States of any race who speak Spanish.

"El Grito de Dolores" (Cry of Dolores) was the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence, which began September 16, 1810. A Catholic priest from the tiny town of Dolores, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, had the church bells rung and addressed the people of his congregation, urging them to revolt. The first battle of that war, a result of the priest's speech, took place 12 days later. The war was finally over, and Mexico won their independence more than a decade later on September 27, 1821.

On September 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States was signed by thirty-nine of our founding fathers. It was made an official federal holiday in 2004. It is a working holiday, and the act mandates that on September 17, all public schools provide education focusing on the history of the Constitution. If the 17th falls on a weekend, the act mandates that the scholastic program must observe the day on the Friday or Monday prior to or following the actual day. Before 2004, the day was known as "Citizenship Day."

On September 25, 1690, the first newspaper was published in the American Colonies. The name of the newspaper was Publick Occurrences, and while the readers of said newspaper were happy about it, the governor was quite unhappy because it was illegal to publish without the government's specific approval, and Publick Occurrences did not have such approval. In the 17th century, newspapers and pamphlets were seen as conduits of disobedience and revolution, and indeed, Sam Adams and his cohorts proved that to be the case in the next century. The governor won his battle to suppress the publication after it published stories about incest and immorality in the French royal family and opined critically about the British military and their mistreatment of French prisoners during the French and Indian War. Hence, America's first newspaper ever published was also the first newspaper to be suppressed by the government. Notable is the fact that the Colonies' second newspaper was not published until 1704. That publication, The Boston Newsletter, ran for 74 years.

On September 4, 2006, the Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin died after a freak accident in which a stingray pierced his chest at the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland.

Famous people born in September include Keanu Reeves, Charlie Sheen, and Jesse Owens, as well as Not Ready for Prime Time Players Jane Curtin, Adam Sandler, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon, Cheri Oteri, Janeane Garofalo, and Bill Murray. Also celebrating birthdays are B.B. King, Stephen King, and the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Will Smith.

Additional resources for the month of September: