Community Service

It’s a delight to be

Of service to your community.

Many people depend

On your help

To make their lives better.

So, why don’t you do your part?

Give a helping hand to others.

And in your own way

Do what you can.

Anyone can help

At a soup kitchen in town

Where you’ll be able

To serve the poor and homeless.

There are some churches,

And community centers

That have these facilities available.

They cater for people in need.

Others may volunteer

In their city

Especially by working

At a hospital, school, or library.

These institutions have opportunities

For you to help in various jobs

That will benefit the community.

Monetary gifts are always welcome.

“God, help those that volunteer in their communities.  Let them see that the people who they serve are their brothers and sisters.  Bless their efforts.”


The Soul of America

Jon Meacham’s The Soul of America: The Battle for Our Better Angels analyzed the sweep of American political history. It showed how power, and social movements intersect to produce rather hopeful, and sometimes disturbing results. Meacham stated that America has had some good and bad presidents. But they inevitably made political decisions to further their chances of being elected or re-elected to this office.

Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation of September 22, 1862 that freed the slaves later led to much Southern resistance. Edward Pollard’s Lost Cause became the rallying cry for many Southerners. The rise of the Ku Klux Klan to epic proportions served as a reminder that their struggle continued. Huey Long and Father Coughlin were demagogues that further fanned fears during turbulent times. Senator Joseph McCarthy stirred up Americans about communism before he was brought down. These were moments that led to terrorism, injury, death, wrongful dismissal of workers, and citizens being ostracized.

Presidents like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Lyndon Johnson had to lead during such dysfunction. FDR had the Great Depression and a world war on his hands. Yet, he successfully put in place economic growth and social programs for Americans. A Southerner, Lyndon Johnson became president after John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Johnson was the architect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 legislation providing for gender protections, and outlawing segregation in public accommodations. Nor must we forget the work done by the civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, and John Lewis.  

The Wright Brothers

David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers is a fascinating biography. It tells the story of Wilbur and Orville Wright of Dayton, Ohio and how they were able to fly. They were the owners of Wright Bicycle Company that were used to finance their endeavors. Their initial attempts with gliders led them to Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina where they were first successful. Their first flight was on December 17, 1903 when the Wright Flyer took off with Orville at the controls.

After a number of experiments the Wrights returned to Ohio to work on developing a practical airplane. They continued tests at Huffman Prairie where on September 29, 1905 Orville flew 12 miles in 20 minutes. Wilbur flew 24 miles in 39 minutes. During these rather demanding times Wilbur and Orville were eagerly supported by their father, Bishop Milton Wright, and their sister Katharine.

Initially, they made attempts to interest the war department in their experiments but to no avail. But foreign nations notably France and Germany were eager to have them demonstrate their invention. This led Wilbur to visit France where he flew their plane at Le Mans on August 8, 1908. Flights were later made at Pau, in Germany, and Rome before thousands of adoring spectators.

While in Europe, the war department began to show an interest in the Wright’s plane with all the positive news in the national and international press. Orrville therefore was able to do successful demonstrations at Fort Myer, Virginia on September 17, 1908. In one of these demonstrations Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge, who was a passenger with Orville was killed in the plane crash. Orville was badly injured, and took several months to recover.

Flights resumed on Governors Island in New York. Wilbur flew up the Hudson River, and caused a sensation by circling the Statute of Liberty, symbol of the friendship of France and of welcome to America. The Wrights later years were taken up with lawsuits over patent rights that worn out Wilbur, who died of typhoid fever on May 30, 1912. Orville carried on the Wright business ventures with further research. He died of a heart attack on January 30, 1948,

Numerous Wright monuments were erected, one dedicated to Wilbur at Le Mans. The largest Wright memorial is at Kitty Hawk at Kill Devil Hills. There is also a memorial on Wright Brothers Hill overlooking Huffman Prairie, and an aircraft carrier, USS Wright bears their name.         

Tipping Point

Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference was filled with essential bits of information. How did Hush Puppies become popular? Why did Paul Revere’s ride become of historical importance in the American colonies? How did crime decrease in New York City in the 1990s? Why was there a problem with the suicide epidemic in Micronesia? What accounted for the success of Sesame Street? And why was it that smoking was such a problem among American youths?

Gladwell showed how connectors, mavens, and salesmen were able to play a major role in these developments. But before that could happen, he felt that word-of-mouth had to play an important part. This was when information passed from one individual to others had to reach a critical mass. This phenomenon the author likened to an epidemic that people usually think about when talking about diseases. However, he saw literal analogies when referring to how social causes, advertisements, and movements would begin to catch afire.

Gladwell argued that it only would take a well-positioned connector like Paul Revere to spread the news about the British invasion. A maven was knowledgeable and keen on providing advice to consumers who knew him. Many of these notable individuals were specialists of many sorts. Then, it would take a salesman who was usually an opinion leader to influence customers to buy a product, or to follow his recommendations. The author also discussed what was the optimum size of a company for it to work efficiently. Its workforce had to be no more than 150 strong. If it became larger than this number it would be time to start a new branch.     

Independence Day

July 4th is an auspicious federal holiday.

It’s unlike other holidays.

For the American Colonies were no longer subject to British rule.

This national day is a time for celebration.

Independence Day ushered in America’s freedoms.

So, let’s commemorate this day of deliverance.

Let’s fall on our knees in devotion to Almighty God.

And mark our nation’s birth with pomp and parades.

Let fireworks explode and decorate the evening sky.

Americans celebrate with carnivals, fairs, and games.

It’s time for reunions, ceremonies, and public events.

Independence Day began when the Second Continental Congress

Voted to approve the resolution for Independence proposed

By Richard Henry Lee of Virginia

Declaring the United States independent from Great Britain

From that time on its celebration

Was marked by gun-salutes, speeches, music, and prayers

“God has continued to guide our nation.  Let’s glorify this achievement.  And let America’s universal goal perpetuate freedom for all – young, old, male, female, religious, and non-religious with equanimity for all peoples including LGBTQ+.  Regardless of their creed, color, national origin and beliefs, let America be a beacon of hope to the world.”