Anybody who grew up in a northern tourist town can relate to the movie Jaws. For the fictional community of Amity Island, the season bookended by Memorial Day and Labor Day represents life or death for the tiny village. The killer shark threatens not only those who go in the water, but the way of life of a community, its prosperity, and its future. The mayor, appropriately clad in a loud sport jacket adorned with anchors, solves his dilemma by pretending that no threat exists. The sheriff, played by Roy Scheider, is the counterweight to a leader whose first priority is the economic survival of the town. In the end, the only solution is to kill the shark.
Today’s lurking and unseen predator upends our traditional understanding of Labor Day. For those who work in the service and tourist industries, the holiday might still be the last opportunity to avoid ruin. For teachers, children, and parents, the holiday poses an unprecedented challenge as summer ends and school begins. Picnics, barbeques, and days at the beach will still happen, but this will be a very different holiday.
Unlike the movie, there are no simple answers. There is no sheriff who will brave his greatest fear to kill the shark and save the season. Instead, we need to work together and honor the day in the same way that we honor Memorial Day. We need to cherish our families, be grateful for those who work and provide the goods that magically appear on our doorsteps, and remember those who have suffered and died. Most of all, we need to remember that, in the end, the shark does die and life becomes normal again. In the meantime, this Labor Day we are grateful to have you, our clients, and for the opportunities that you have provided us to live purposeful lives.
We will also be grateful to the scientists and technicians who eventually kill the shark.
From All of Us to All of You
Happy Labor Day