Chassey: America was built by laborers

08/31/2014 9:00 PM

08/29/2014 6:51 PM

This nation could not have become a world leader without the skill of laboring men and women. For that matter, the 13 colonies could not have become the United States of America without the laborer. It was the work of American laborers that made the dreams of our forefathers and the visions of the entrepreneurs come alive.

Leland Stanford and Cornelius Vanderbilt, with others, had a vision of a rail system extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans. It was the laborer using his strength and skill who laid the rails, and pounded the spikes that made the vision a reality.

Samuel F.B. Morse’s vision of a system that would carry messages by wire became a reality through the labor of those who dug the holes, raised the poles and strung the wire.

Henry Ford had a vision of an automobile that families could afford; it was the laborer on the production line that made that vision come alive. Ford paid his workers a much higher than average wage for that era, so they could afford the cars they were building. It was not a popular decision among the industrialists of that day.

Traveling around Columbia and the surrounding area, one sees an abundance of construction projects. In the hot, summer days, laborers are using their various and sundry skills bringing to reality the vision of the planners and architects. The examples of the laborer’s contribution to this nation’s strength, prosperity and well being are beyond comprehension.

On Labor Day, let us give due honor to those whose skills are the backbone of this nation. As a recent issue of Time magazine noted, “today too many working families are living pay check to pay check or even in outright poverty, while toe holds to economic stability become fewer and far between.”

The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us that “to everything here is a season — a time to every purpose under heaven — a time to keep silence — and a time to speak.” Labor Day is a time for the leaders of industry and government to give assurance that those who use their skills in labor receive an adequate and fair share of the fruits of their labor.

Rev. Canon George I. Chassey

West Columbia

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