We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last.—John F. Kennedy
27 January is one of those dates that history just seems to like. Events of note, people whose lives are noteworthy, have connections to this date in a volume that exceeds the norm and causes us to sit up and take notice. One day can make a difference, a big one, and much of that comes down to the actions or decisions of one person. Here’s a partial list of historical events that happened on this date, concatenated from the Associated Press:
- In 1756, composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria.
- In 1880, Thomas Edison received a patent for his electric incandescent lamp.
- In 1901, opera composer Giuseppe Verdi died in Milan, Italy, at age 87.
- In 1913, the musical play “The Isle O’ Dreams” opened in New York; it featured the song “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” by Ernest R. Ball, Chauncey Olcott and George Graff Jr.
- In 1944, during World War II, the Soviet Union announced the complete end of the deadly German siege of Leningrad, which had lasted for more than two years.
- In 1945, during World War II, Soviet troops liberated the Nazi concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau in Poland.
- In 1965, “Up the Down Staircase,” Bel Kaufman’s novel about a young, idealistic teacher at a New York inner-city school, was published by Prentice-Hall.
- In 1973, the Vietnam peace accords were signed in Paris.
- Ten years ago: Salzburg, Austria, held an exuberant 250th birthday party for its native son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Western Union delivered its last telegram. The first inhalable version of insulin, Exubera, won federal approval.
Understanding this is just a partial list and realizing how broad a representation of life it represents, perhaps we might find some encouragement in making a little extra effort to make this 17 January yet another day of note. To that end, the hashtag #LetsMakeTodayBetterBy has been trending since yesterday afternoon. While celebrating the great lives and events of history is important, equally necessary is that we make the effort for today to become one of those days that history remembers.
Granted, not everything for which today might be known would be obvious at first. Who can foretell which of the hundreds of thousands of new lives born today will grow up to excel in ways we currently cannot imagine. Inventions that might seem overly simple or unimportant when first unveiled may prove to dramatically change all our lives. Yet, without our making an effort to improve today, and the future, this just becomes another day where history yawns and keeps on going.
How can you make today better? Here are some of the things that have been mentioned so far:
— Just Puds (@justpuds) January 27, 2016
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 26, 2016
— chloepink (@chloepink) January 27, 2016
— Jamie Hill (@JamieHillUK) January 27, 2016
As I’m writing, there are over 66,000 suggestions for how to make today better. Naturally, some of them are self-serving and more than a few relate to specific events that, for geographic reasons, are not necessarily available to everyone. Still, by making a deliberate effort to make today better, we all increase the chances that this will be another 27 January for the history books. The future history is up to you.