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Last updated: February 20. 2013 12:57AM - 269 Views

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HOW OLD would you be if you didn't know how old you are? In posing that question to others, pitching great Leroy Satchel Paige (1906-1982) demonstrated that his wisdom extended well beyond the mound.


Older and wiser, a new year of opportunity and challenges await you.



The New Year signals Earth's successful trip around the sun. It usually completes the 583 million mile orbit in 365.24 days, rocketing through space at 18 miles per second.


With much on its agenda, the commencement of 2013 is a demarcation in time and hope. A time of deference to days gone by and hope for the future, we anticipate the new chapters to be written while observing anniversaries of the sweet and sorrowful.


For example, this year we will acknowledge the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen's masterpiece published in 1813 remains a literary must-read for student and teacher alike.


During the four-year 150th anniversary commemorating America's Civil War, 2013 will be a busy one.


President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation took affect on Jan. 1, 1863 freeing all persons held as slaves in the Confederacy.


Private Jacob Parrott of Ohio will be remembered in March as the first recipient of the United States Medal of Honor, having infiltrated confederate rail lines in Georgia.


We will pause three days in July to honor the 50,000 American casualties at the Battle of Gettysburg and recall in November the 272 words Lincoln spoke there.


The nation will note the 100th anniversary of the birth of civil rights activist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rosa McCauley Parks in February and the 1913 passing of abolitionist Harriet Tubman one month later.


Centennial observations will also include the birth of President Richard Nixon and a 1913 patent obtained by two employees of Westinghouse for a durable substance they called, formica.


Great attention will be paid to the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's 1963 I Have A Dream speech delivered in August at the Lincoln Memorial, as well as his earlier Letter from a Birmingham Jail written in April.


Much of Europe will honor President John F. Kennedy in June recalling his 1963 affirmation to a half million people in the plaza of West Berlin's city hall -- Ich bin ein Berliner. That November, the name of the square was changed to John F. Kennedy Platz.


Please Please Me, the first Beatles' tune released in the United States, aired here on Feb. 7, 1963 -- exactly one year prior to the group's arrival in New York at what had been called the Idlewild Airport.


On Christmas Eve, 1963 the name of the airport was changed to JFK.


2013 also marks the 175 anniversary of the birth of Ferdinand von Zeppelin. He founded the Zeppelin Airship Company in Germany. While Zeppelin's dirigibles received mixed reviews, he might be credited with a small step in a Stairway to Heaven.


Considered a musical masterpiece, Stairway to Heaven was composed by 27-year-old guitar virtuoso Jimmy Page.


His fellow band member Robert Plant supplied the lyrics. In part, its message suggests courage and stability in the face of life's challenges.



The tune will come to you at last


When all is one and one is all


To be a rock and not to roll.


How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are? Jimmy Page will be 69 years young on Wednesday. Last month Page and his band were awarded The Kennedy Center Honors.


Named for President Kennedy who had been a staunch supporter of the arts, the Kennedy Center opened its doors in 1971; the year Stairway to Heaven was released and eight years after the president's untimely death in Dallas -- 50 years ago.


To be a rock and not to roll. Happy New Year.




With much on its agenda, the commencement of 2013 is a demarcation in time and hope. A time of deference to days gone by and hope for the future, we anticipate the new chapters to be written while observing anniversaries of the sweet and sorrowful.




Kevin Blaum's column about government, politics and life is published each Sunday.


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