J.R. Martinez American Hero Dances With the Stars

J.R. Martinez’s emotionally-charged ‘Dancing With the Stars’ routine was the highlight of the competition this week. Martinez, who was injured in a humvee accident while serving in Iraq, stopped by ‘Access Hollywood Live‘ (weekdays, syndicated on NBC) to talk about what the performance, which he dedicated soldiers who didn’t make it home from the war, meant to him. READ MORE

In 2003, Martinez sustained severe burns to over 40 percent of his body while serving as a United States Army infantryman in Iraq. Following his recovery, he has traveled around the country speaking about his experiences to corporations, veterans groups, schools, and other organizations.

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The History of Labor Day

Labor Day Stamp USDOL

In North America and Canada, the first Monday in September is Labor Day. The holiday serves as a celebration of workers and commemorates their respective economic and social achievements.

Labor (Labour) Day in Canada has its origins in an 1872 demonstration held by the Toronto Trades Assembly (TTA).  Serving as Canada’s first significant campaign for worker’s rights, the demonstration was created to garner the release of 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union (TTU). During this time, trade unions were illegal and the TTU leaders were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day.

The TTA held large parades and picnics and received a large public following.  The parades became so empowering that Canadian Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald repealed “anti-union” laws and in June of 1874 parliament passed the Trade Unions Act. Contemporary Canadian celebrations of Labor Day consist of picnics, fireworks, trips, and parades.

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What is the Declaration of Independence?

The United States Declaration of Independence is a statement adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, which announced that the thirteen American colonies then at war with Great Britain were now independent states, and thus no longer a part of the British Empire. Written primarily by Thomas Jefferson, the Declaration is a formal explanation of why Congress had voted on July 2 to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. The birthday of the United States of AmericaIndependence Day—is celebrated on July 4, the day the wording of the Declaration was approved by Congress.

Watch Performance of “America,America, God Shed His Grace on Thee”