April 10, 2013 - National Sibling Day

If you have a brother or sister, then you ARE a brother or sister, and this day is for you!

Yes, half-brothers and sisters, step-brothers and sisters, and adopted brothers and sisters count. Twins are of course amazingly close siblings, and some cousins seem almost to be sibs as well.

Today is the day to thank your siblings for the good things they do for you and with you. Hopefully they will end up thanking you back! Perform a good deed for your brother, make a card for your sister, surprise your sister by doing one of her chores, or make brownies for all of your siblings to share.

Famous Siblings

Venus and Serena Williams are sisters who helped push each other to higher and higher levels of playing tennis. They have each been #1 in the world—and sometimes they have to play hard, competitive matches against each other. Sometimes they play doubles—hooray! then they get to play on the same side, and win together! Venus Williams was the first African American woman to be ranked #1 in the Open Era, but Serena has had even more success. Recently she became the oldest world #1 player in WTA history, when she regained the top spot, and she is the only female player to have won more than $40 million in prize money! The two sisters have each won more Olympic gold medals than any other female tennis player.

Sarah and Angelina Grimke were sisters who helped make a big difference in the United States. They were raised on a plantation in the South in the early 1800s, and their father—who was an important man, a judge of the Supreme Court of South Carolina—believed that slavery was a good thing and also that women must be subordinate to men. He wouldn't allow his daughters to get higher education, for example.

Somehow, the girls realized that many things that their parents taught them were wrong—that their whole lifestyle, on the plantation and with the slaves, was wrong. As a child, Sarah taught her personal slave to read, although that was against the law. She even tried to run away to a place without slavery! Can you imagine?

The Grimke sisters worked to abolish slavery. They also spoke and wrote about racial acceptance. At the time, most white people who hated slavery didn't want to accept black people as equals, or amongst their own society. The Grimke sisters met with enormous amounts of criticism every time they gave a speech or wrote an article—but they also started accumulating followers who agreed with their stance.

I'm happy to report that the Grimke sisters lived to see the slaves freed and the 15th Amendment pass—and they were almost 80 years old, but they also lived long enough to vote in an election!

Wilbur and Orville Wright were brothers who taught themselves about machinery and engineering and invented the world's first successful heavier-than-air powered-controlled airplane. After this success, they gave up their joint bicycle business to focus on building flying machines!

Owen and Luke Wilson are brothers and actors who have succeeded together (in movies such as “The Royal Tenenbaums”) and separately (in movies such as “Legally Blond” and “Cars”). Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal are brother-and-sister actors. You may have seen Jake in “October Skies” or Maggie in “The Dark Knight.”

Also on this date:

Anniversary of the first bananas sold in England

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