President Franklin D. Roosevelt (source)
“On this day – this American holiday – we are celebrating the rights of free laboring men and women.
The preservation of these rights is vitally important now, not only to us who enjoy them – but to the whole future of Christian civilization. . .
These rights were established by our forefathers on the field of battle. They have been defended – at great cost but with great success – on the field of battle, here on our own soil, and in foreign lands, and on all the seas all over the world.
There has never been a moment in our history when Americans were not ready to stand up as free men and fight for their rights.
In times of national emergency, one fact is brought home to us, clearly and decisively – the fact that all of our rights are interdependent.
The right of freedom of worship would mean nothing without freedom of speech. And the rights of free labor as we know them today could not survive without the rights of free enterprise.
That is the indestructible bond that is between us – between all of us Americans: interdependence of interests, privileges, opportunities, responsibilities – interdependence of rights.
That is what unites us – men and women of all sections, of all races, of all faiths, of all occupations, of all political beliefs. That is why we have been able to defy and frustrate the enemies who believed that they could divide us and conquer us from within. . .
And we know that a free labor system is the very foundation of a functioning democracy. We know that one of the first acts of the Axis dictatorships has been to wipe out all the principles and standards which labor had been able to establish for its own preservation and advancement. . .
American workers, American farmers, American businessmen, American church people – all of us together – have the great responsibility and the great privilege of laboring to build a democratic world on enduring foundations.
May it be said on some future Labor Day by some future President of the United States that we did our work faithfully and well.”
– President Franklin D. Roosevelt,
excerpts from his “Labor Day Radio Address”, September 1st, 1941
(Full address available here)