Labor Day is the American story.

With fiery union inspiration, the first Labor Day, Sept. 5, 1882, was called a workingman’s holiday. It got its start in New York City as many immigrants, mine included, were doing the back-breaking work that built our cities and industries.

These new Americans left hardship behind and came here looking for work — many were unskilled. But they became the life’s blood of an era of rapid growth in America, constructing roads, bridges and buildings in our urban areas; others finding work in mills, factories, firehouses and police stations.

The immigrants also built homes, farmed land, worked hard and gave rise to a new generation of native-born Americans and helped create the highest standard of living and production in the world.

And as we celebrate the significant achievements of the American worker this Labor Day, raise a glass to those who came before.