Not every holiday’s lucky enough to have a classic pop song attached to it. But that’s exactly how things turned out for National Lineman Appreciation Day.
“I am a lineman for the county
And I drive the main road
Searchin’ in the sun for another overload…”
Jimmy Webb wrote “Wichita Lineman” in 1968 and Glen Campbell recorded it later that year. “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked it at number 195 on a list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.
More on that later.
Linemen (and women) work on power or phone lines — keeping the current flowing to our homes and businesses. It’s a dangerous job. After 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, the 113th Congress passed a bill designating April 18 as National Lineman Appreciation Day.
The bill became law in 2013.
National Lineman Appreciation Day timeline
"The American Lineman"
Alan Drew's book "The American Lineman": Honoring the Evolution and Importance of One of the Nation's Toughest, Most Admired Professions" has over 500 photos and illustrations.
Songwriter Jimmy Webb noticed a solitary lineman atop a pole while driving through southwestern Oklahoma. He once called the image "the picture of loneliness." Although Webb's lineman no doubt worked on a telephone pole, the sentiment still works.
Demand for linemen grew
They traveled from city to city, making a good living and returning home between jobs.
A dangerous job
Between the 1890 and the 1930, line work was considered extremely hazardous. Labor organizations eventually formed to represent the workers and advocate for their safety.
Linemen began work
The introduction of telegraph lines on trees and poles for long-distance communication created the need for linemen.
National Lineman Appreciation Day Activities
Say you appreciate them
Maybe you can spot one working in your neighborhood, or send your power company a note when they come through for you.
Post on social media with this hashtag to encourage others to appreciate and recognize the important job that linemen do.
Donate to a fallen lineman
Nonprofits seek assistance for injured linemen and their families. Help out on this day.
5 Powerful Facts About Linemen (and Women)
All linemen wear personal protective equipment that includes rubber gloves, rubber sleeves, flame-resistant clothing, and bucket liners.
"The Kiss of Life"
Rocco Morabito's famous 1967 photo captured a lineman giving an unconscious lineman mouth-to-mouth resuscitation while in a harness on a pole. The unconscious lineman survived and the picture became famous.
They receive good training
A lineworker apprentice takes part in a four-year training program before becoming a "Journey Lineworker."
The storm that kept lineman busy
Over 67,000 lineman responded to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
There are approximately 115,000 linemen in the U.S.
Why We Love National Lineman Appreciation Day
They keep the power running
Think about going without power for just one day. Linemen work behind (or, actually above) the scene so we can keep our lives moving.
A risky occupation
Dealing with high voltage electrical wires at great heights is dangerous. Linemen are brave enough to get the job done.
They give up family time for us
They work tirelessly, often during odd hours, away from their families to address electrical problems.