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Labor Day laborers: Keeping the world turning

LAWTON, Okla._Thousands around Lawton enjoyed their Labor Day weekend, and for many, it continued with a day off Monday.

Most state and government offices were closed Monday, including courthouses, post offices and City Hall. But the day off wasn't a luxury that everyone could enjoy.

The question of who is working on Labor Day was posted on our Facebook page and within a little more than an hour, we had a plethora of responses. Some of the many places open included the Red Cross, industry sites here in Lawton and retail stores. But there were also those who really can't take a day off for the sake of the community, including hospitals, fire departments and law enforcement.

Captain Cliff Blasengame has been with the Lawton Police Department for 26 years and has worked plenty of holidays. He says for those in public safety, there isn't a choice.

"If they were to take those days off, then you leave the citizens out there unprotected and unserviced. Those guys need to have service out there that apply to the well-being of the public," Capt. Blasengame said.

But for those not providing service, the choice was theirs to remain open. The question remains the same throughout, why celebrate Labor Day? According to the U.S. Department of Labor, it's a yearly tribute to contributions that workers have made to the strength of the country.

Congress passed an act on June 28, 1894, to set the first Monday of September as a legal holiday. That's about seven years before Comanche County was created.

Captain Blasengame says his wife works at the Comanche County Courthouse, and with a daughter in high school, it means he is the only one working.

"Yes, my family is off. I think they are at home, doing things around the house and interacting with each other right now," he said.

Captain Blasengame says when he gets off, he’ll go home and enjoy the rest of the holiday with his family. He says spending time with family is very important to him, but the oath he took, means sacrifices must be made.

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