May 17, 2012

May Dates and Facts

By Eloise Graham

Welcome to the merry month of May! The birthstone is the emerald, and the flower is the Lily if the Valley. May Day, the first day of May, is a frivolous celebration of dancing around a flagpole, flower baskets and candy. The month ends with the Memorial Day weekend, a solemn celebration of remembrance, again with flagpoles and flowers. Sandwiched in between is National Day of Prayer, Mother’s Day, Brothers and Sisters Day, World Red Cross Day, V-E Day, National Teacher’s Day, Ride a Bike to Work Day – to name a few. Throw in a few graduation parties and you have a busy month.

1652 – May18 The Colony of Rhode Island passed the first law in North America making slavery illegal.
1678 – May 31 Lady Godiva protested taxes by riding naked on horseback through Coventry.
1785 – May 23 Benjamin Franklin announced his invention of bifocals.
1866 – May 16 Charles Elmer Hires invented root beer.
1869 – May 10 The Union and the Pacific Rails were joined together with a golden spike at Promontory Summit, Utah. This completed the transcontinental railway in North America.
1881 – May 21 American Red Cross was founded by Clara Barton.
1916 – May 20 The small town of Codell, Kansas was struck by a tornado.
1917 – May 20 The small town of Codell, Kansas was struck by a tornado, a second time.
1918 – May 20 The small town of Codell, Kansas was struck by a tornado for the third time.
1921 – May 19 U.S. Congress passed the Emergency Quota Act which established national quotas on immigration.
1924 – May 26 President Coolidge signed the Immigration Law restricting immigration.
1940 -May 1 McDonalds opens its first restaurant in San Bernardino, California.
1945 – May 8 VE Day, Germany’s unconditional surrender to the allies.
1954 – May 6 Roger Bannister ran the four-minute mile.
1954 -May 17 The US Supreme Court handed down a unanimous decision in Brown v Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas.
1961 – May 5 Allan Shepard made the first US manned space-flight which lasted 15 minutes 28 seconds.
1962 – May 12 Douglas MacArthur delivered his famous “Duty, Honor, Country” valedictory speech at the United States Military Academy.
1968 – May 25 Gateway Arch in St. Louis was dedicated
1971 – May 1 Amtrak was formed to takeover us passenger rail service
1980 – May 28 55 women became the first graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy
1989 – May 2 Hungary started dismantling the Iron Curtain: it was the end of the Cold War