Guest Blog

A Well-Deserved Shout-out for America's Tradesmen

September 9, 2011
There’s a day to honor administrative assistants, a day to recognize bosses, and even a day to champion teachers. But what about those folks who show up at your house when the toilet is overflowing, or the a/c quit and it’s 100 degrees outside, or the rain is pouring through the kitchen ceiling? When we do say “thanks” to the tradesmen who build America and keep it running?

The answer: Sept. 16. It’s National Tradesmen Day, a new initiative to honor America’s tradesmen. And everyone can participate.

As you’re out and about today, and you see electricians, plumbers, roofers, or carpenters at the construction site, stop by and say “thanks.” See how they react. They’re probably not used to hearing people acknowledge their contribution to society and our quality of life. Yet after their initial surprise, these hard-working men and women will smile and thank you, in return, because they are proud to work with their hands every day.

National Tradesmen Day, to be held each year on the third Friday in September, should become a day when each one of us pauses to thank a tradesman. Whether an auto mechanic, roofer, bricklayer, plumber, electrician, or carpenter. Whether a grizzled veteran of the jobsite or a journeyman apprentice. Every one of us knows the value of the men and women who build America. For their efforts, I am grateful.

And so is Mike Rowe of the popular TV show “Dirty Jobs.” According to Rowe, "Because of my role on ‘Dirty Jobs,’ a lot of people think I speak on behalf of America's tradesmen. In fact, I don't. From what I've seen, tradesmen don't really need a spokesman — what they need are fans, regular people who understand the magnitude of their work, the impact of their chosen profession, and the importance of their skill. As a guy addicted to heating, air-conditioning, affordable electricity, solid foundations, smooth roads, and indoor plumbing, I'm happy to honor our country's skilled tradesmen on September 16th, and the 364 days that follow. I'd encourage anyone else who has benefited from their work to do the same. We need more people who are willing to take the time to learn a skill and master a trade.”

I hope that National Tradesmen Day becomes a part of this nation’s rituals, and that we celebrate it with dignity and fun. Maybe it’s the day to fly an American flag on the porch or drop a box of doughnuts off at the body shop. Maybe we can honor America’s tradesmen by visiting our local elementary school and explaining how a job in a skilled trade is a solid, decent, and admirable way to support a family.

To work with one’s hands — to build something — always has been and always should be commendable. This week, we make it official. Thank you, America’s Tradesmen!

For more information about National Tradesmen Day, visit

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