Reflections on Labor Day and 9/11

Filed Under: General Health

Labor Day is one of the holidays closest to my heart.With Labor Day this weekend, and the approach of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in a little over a week—I’m choked up by the memory of an article I read several years ago. The Wall Street Journal had reported that children who become newspaper carriers are at significant risk for injury, or even death. 

The article brought tears to my eyes because being a paper boy, as we were called then, was my first job. I remember that I lied about my age just to get hired—you had to be 12 and I was only 11.
At first, my dad drove me to the central station to pick up my papers, but I finally got a bike and so I pedaled the six miles every day. I took the job very seriously; I battled the elements—snow, sleet, rain, freezing temperatures—to get those papers to their readers. Even now, I can remember how frozen my toes would get on that ride in the pre-dawn hours. 

This was a great start for me because it taught me discipline and instilled in me enormous respect for anyone who labors. After the paper route, I became manager of a fast food place, a local hamburger joint called Bob's. Then I worked as a laborer in construction and for a contracting company building pools. I also did landscaping. 

These various experiences ultimately helped me realize that using my strength was just one way to get ahead, that getting a good education was another way to advance—so I ended up on the road to medical school.

All of this is to explain why Labor Day is one of the holidays closest to my heart. I place a lot of stock in the honest effort of hard-working individuals, which is the foundation of this great country.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full decade since 9/11—and perhaps the saddest aspect to me is that thousands of the people who died were just going to work.
At this point Labor Day and the worst attack on Americans on American soil are inextricably linked. This weekend, and all month long, I’ll be remembering those hard-working folks who died in that senseless tragedy.

Now it’s your turn: What are your remembrances of 9/11?

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