2016-09-08 / Columnists

Babylon News & Muse

by Mary Gallagher

•This column is being written on Labor Day night, and so far Hermine has sent us some gusts of wind and a lot of erosion. Most of us have our fingers crossed that the storm stays far enough away to avoid serious flooding.

My thoughts and prayers are with all who have suffered with Irene and Sandy that this storm leaves them in peace.

•What does Labor Day mean to you? According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country.”

I was chatting with a friend this afternoon and realized that very few people would recognize this description of Labor Day. Sadly, for most of us, it means the end of summer, retail sales, back to school and barbecues.

When I start to think about how this holiday began, I think of construction workers, police and firemen, teachers, nurses and all the professions that basically form a huge part of what we call the middle class. Even if you have a job that is not covered by a union, you have benefited. Employers have had to give most of the benefits the unions fought for to all employees.

When I began to work at my first real job, I was employed by Corning Glass Works in New York City. I was not in a union, although many CGW employees were. But when their unions worked out a contract, basically all the other employees (like me) received similar raises and benefits.

Most of us complain from time to time about how much teachers, police and other union members earn. But before the labor movement, the middle class was tiny compared to what it is today.

Sadly, there are still a lot of people who fall far below that level. Politicians make a lot of claims about what they will do for the middle class. Frankly, like most of their claims, I discount them. The people who will continue to do the most for the middle class are members of it!

•Now that this week’s sermon is over, let’s acknowledge that the summer is basically over. The lovely weather that ushered this last weekend in is a sure sign that autumn is close. The back-to-school signs are gone, and stores are decorating for Halloween.

And long before that holiday arrives, Christmas decorations and catalogs will make their way into stores and mailboxes. Most of us would prefer that retailers slow down a bit, I think. Let us enjoy the current season before shoving the next down our throats!

•I have to apologize for not bringing the Historical Society’s Olympic display to your attention earlier. However, it will be in the museum through October. Stop in and look at Babylon’s own Tom Borher’s trophies in rowing, as well as other Olympic memorabilia.

Tom, the son of Marie and the late Bob Borher, won silver as part of a four-man team in rowing for 1988 and 1992. There have been other Village residents that have done well in the Games in the past. Hopefully, it won’t be long before we have more athletes of that caliber.

But those men and women who represented the U.S. this summer represented all of us. While it’s too bad that a few athletes behaved badly, I prefer to focus on how well all our other Olympians performed!

•School will have started by the time this paper comes out, but please remember to watch out for school buses and observe the speed limits in school zones.

•With the 15th anniversary of September 11 this Sunday, let’s all say a prayer for the victims and their loved ones. Thinking of local students, few will remember that day, and I hope none of them will have to endure anything like it.

•Remember the Babylon Country Fair will be held on Sept. 18, a week later than usual. Also, the Babylon Rotary’s Wine & Food Expo will be held on Sept. 25 at Bergen Point.

Both Rotary and the Beautification Society do so much for our community, please come out to support them!

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