This is Pastor Tim’s article published in the Evening Leader on Tuesday, August 30, 2022
As you all well know, we have lots of songs that are associated with Holidays. Jingle Bells is for Christmas, Auld Lang Syne is for New Years Eve, and Happy Birthday is the Birthday song. One Holiday that doesn’t currently have a song associated with it is Labor Day, and today I want to make the case that Labor Day does indeed need a song.
The song I would like to suggest is 40 Hours a Week (for a Livin’) by Alabama. The song was released in 1986 and if there is a better song to play on Labor Day, I have no idea what it would be. It is a song to say thank you to the American Worker for all of the goods and services they provide.
For any of you who may not know the song I am talking about, go to YouTube and search “40 hours a week Alabama” and you will easily find it. If you don’t know the song, then I have to assume that you are just too young to remember it, because back in the 80s when the song came out, it was playing everywhere. And I can tell you that of all of the garbage music that came out of the 1980s, this song is a rare gem. The lyrics were written with purpose and Alabama preformed the song with talent, something that you millennials have witnessed very little of in your music listening career.
I don’t know that a song like this one could even be released today. It talks about the blue-collar workers who make the world go around. Factory workers, police officers, truck drivers; people society could not function without. There are no victims in this song, only servants and people who put in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Then they go home, care for their families and build up their communities. This song is from a grateful country appreciating them for the great work they do.
I wish there were more sentiments out there like the ones expressed in 40 Hours a Week (for a Livin’) because this song presupposes two things:
The first is that the workers are working. Back in those days, that was not an assumption, it was something that was actually happening. That isn’t to say that people today don’t work hard, but it is to say that we live in a world where the concept of “quiet quitting” is real. Quiet quitting is where you go to a job and do the absolute bare minimum just to collect the paycheck. You haven’t exactly quit but you put in no effort and take no pride in the job that you do. Back in the 1980s, this concept, while I am sure it existed, was not the norm. I didn’t enter the workforce until the mid-1990s, but I can remember my parents who went to work and worked very hard. They didn’t always like it, but they knew it was important because my sister and I needed the home they were providing. There was no belief that the government was going to step in and save them, if they decided they were too good for the work they were doing.
The second thing the song presupposes is that society appreciated people who worked hard. A job well done was honored, and it should be. It almost feels like today if you find someone who takes their job seriously and wants to do a good job, they are perceived as a sucker for putting in so much effort.
This is why I think that Labor Day needs its own song. It’s time we take work, and the appreciation of work, seriously. For all of you out there who take your jobs seriously and take pride in the work you do, thank you. Sincerely, the Alabama song was written for you. We need to hold up and honor those who do a good job because they are an example to the rest of us as to what needs to happen.
So, next Monday when you have the day off, look up the song 40 Hours a Week by Alabama and give it a listen. Let’s reclaim the purpose of Labor Day by honoring these hard working individuals. Thank you to everyone who works so diligently to make our society function. We absolutely could not do it without you.