Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thursday is Be An Angel Day

Although they play an important role in all Abrahamic religious texts, in our modern culture angels have transcended any organized religion. For example, Angel Reach is a popular blog run by an British psychic and medium, Linda Preston (she gives email readings, too). Nor is Ms. Preston alone; there are many persons who wouldn't be caught dead in a church, mosque or synagogue that nevertheless find comfort believing that angels are among us and have an influence on our daily lives.

If you are so inclined, you could simply celebrate these winged wonders or haloed heroes Thursday, August 22 on Be an Angel Day -- but our crack research staff says that the idea behind Be an Angel Day, as conceived by Rev. Jayne Howard Feldman 20 years ago, in 1993, is to remember to do some service for someone, to be an angel in that person's life. It could become habit-forming.

In his first inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln referred to the "better angels of our nature." He wasn't asking for angels with wings and white robes to swoop in and prevent the Civil War; he was asking for his fellow countrymen, North and South, to put aside their differences and see that they were truly members of a perpetual union, bound together with the mystic chords of memory "stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land." We are not all angelic, and even the best among us are not angelic all the time, but we have within each of us the capacity for good.

Try and increase your capacity on Thursday: Do something good for someone -- and celebrate that.

Samuel Pierpont Langley was born on August 22, 1834. If there were a direct correlation between government funding and successful research, Langley would have invented the first airplane. He was the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution when, in 1898, Langley received a $50,000 grant from the War Department and a $20,000 grant from the Smithsonian to develop a manned, powered, heavier-than-air flying machine. He had some success with unmanned models, but it was the Wright Brothers who got the first manned plane into the air. Langley Field in Virginia remembers Langley's contributions to the birth of aviation.

Baseball great Carl Yastrzemski turns 74 on August 22. Yastrzemski won baseball's Triple Crown in 1967. No one led baseball in home runs, batting average, and runs batted in again until Miguel Cabrera did it in 2012. Yastrzemski was a first ballot Hall of Famer."

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