Pity poor old August! Unless one has a birthday or an anniversary in August, there is absolutely nothing spectacular or notable about this summer-is-almost-over month.
Originally, this month was called Sextilis; it stood in sixth place on the calendar. Then, as changes occurred in the calendar, Sextilis was moved to the eighth position in the year and was renamed August.
In the days of the Roman Caesars, the Roman Senate had named one of the months in honor of Julius Caesar. When Emperor Augustus came to power, he was not to be outdone. Augustus had the Roman Senate name a month in honor of him. Sextilis or August, then had 30 days, in contrast to July's 31 days. So, Emperor Augustus decreed that one day be taken from the month of February and added to the month of August, making it equal with July. Power and politics seem to affect our lives in strange and numerous ways.
So, what can one say on behalf of poor old August? This end-of-the-summer month does offer us several special days to celebrate:
Aug. 2 comes in as National Mustard Day; National Relaxation Day is Aug. 15; and who would not want to celebrate Aug. 22 -- "Be An Angel Day"! Finally, the old adage reminds us that "If the 24th of August be fair and clear, then hope for a prosperous autumn that year."
There's more! August is also "Admit You're Happy" Month; Family Fun Month; Children's Vision and Learning Month; and National Inventor's Month. The flower representing August is the gladiola; gladiolas stand for sincerity and strength of character.
August is notable for a lot of special events that took place within its 31 days: Virginia Dare became the first child of English parents to be born on American soil (Aug. 18); the U.S formally annexed Hawaii on Aug. 12; "Sports Illustrated" began publication in 1954 on Aug. 16; the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates began on Aug. 21, 1858; Ty Cobb made his major-league debut for the Detroit Tigers on Aug. 30, 1905; and 10 suffragists were arrested as they picketed the White House on Aug. 28, 1917.
Months are a lot like people! God has created each one. Each is unique. God has placed each where we most need to be. God gives each a role to play in life, and the whole world is our stage. Some months, like people, are more showy and spectacular. Other months, like people, are more reserved and sedate. Yet, all can glorify their Creator by rejoicing in who they are, by accepting their place on the calendar of life and by being the best they can be.
Here's to August, a month with a personality all its own!
Don Kuehle is a retired United Methodist minister who lives in Jackson. Opinions expressed are those of the author.Editorial on 08/08/2019
Print Headline: A Tribute To August