Labor Day is more than just a day off from school and work. It’s a great time to think about the history of the national holiday and its importance in American history. Not only is it a day to enjoy picnics, festivals and barbecues; it’s a national dedication to the social and economic achievements of American workers.
Labor Day is viewed as the official end of summer. While the Fall Equinox is still a couple of weeks away, kids go back to school and summer vacations are over. So this marks the end of the season. Many people celebrate this weekend with one last picnic or BBQ. It is also the date that many people close up the pool, put away the boats and get out the sweaters.
Labor Day is observed in many different ways. Parades are annually organized in some places today, as this was the tradition many years ago. In many places rallies and political demonstrations are organized that highlight the problems faced by workers. Speeches by union leaders and political figures at these rallies attempt to create a general awareness about the condition of American laborers.
This year more than 50,000 people are attending Burning Man, a week-long annual event held in Northern Nevada. Burning Man is an annual experiment in temporary community dedicated to radical self-expression and radical self-reliance.
One of the traditions of Labor Day is the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. The star-studded variety show usually lasts 21 ½ hours and entertains, informs and more importantly, raises funds for MDA.
But wait…this year there is no “Jerry Lewis” MDA Telethon. This year’s telethon is scheduled for Sept. 4 and will reportedly last only six hours during prime-time programming…without Jerry Lewis!
If you were looking forward to joining the rest of the nation in giving a heartfelt thank you and goodbye to Jerry Lewis during the 2011 Muscular Dystrophy Telethon, you were disappointed.
The organization that has partnered with Lewis for more than 45 years announced that the comedian would be stepping down immediately as its national chairman. This statement contradicts a May release from MDA in which Lewis stated that he would continue as chairman after his final telethon this September. Now it appears that he won’t even get to do that.
“Jerry Lewis is a world-class humanitarian and we’re forever grateful to him for his more than half century of generous service to MDA. We will not be replacing him as MDA national chairman, and he will not be appearing on the telethon.”
Whoa — what? So that’s it? After more than four decades and $2.45 billion raised, that’s how you drop the news that your celebrated host will not be returning for one more run?
It’s rather puzzling…is it Jerrys health or something else. Lewis said last week:
“September the fifth, the day after that program, I will have an international press conference with press from Reuters and London and China and Taiwan and all over the world, and I will have plenty to say about what I think is important. And that’s the future, not the past.”
… and the plot thickens.
This year’s telethon is scheduled for Sept. 4 and will reportedly last six hours during prime-time programming. If you want to learn more about the Muscular Dystrophy Association, please visit the official site here.
I will always remember when Clay Aiken performed on the Jerry Lewis MDA telethon. Clay sang “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and received glowing comments from Jerry Lewis.
The following video shows Clay’s performance and the wonderful praise he received from Jerry.