What Happened on August 5?

  • Marilyn Monroe was found dead. (1962) Monroe, who was born Norma Jeane Mortenson, was a famous American movie star and sex icon. Her death was ruled a suicide by drug overdose, but accidental overdose and homicide were never ruled out.

  • 22 IRA members were sentenced to a total of 4,000 years in jail. (1983) 38 defendants were tried in one of Northern Ireland's largest mass trials in history. The charges included murder and attempted murder; the judge wore a bullet-proof vest during the trial.

  • The first electric traffic signal was installed. (1914) The system of red and green lights, indicating stop and go, was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, on the corner of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue.

  • 70-year-old Marie Noe was charged with killing her eight children. (1998) Noe's children all were born healthy, but later died under her care from what was thought to be Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. She was finally charged with smothering them all to death over a period of 19 years between 1949 and 1968. She admitted to killing four of them, but claimed not to know what happened to the others. She was sentenced to five years of house arrest and 20 years of probation.

  • US President Ronald Regan fired more than 11,000 air-traffic controllers. (1981) The workers were warned they would be fired if they went on strike, but they ignored the warnings. 13,000 air-traffic controllers went on strike two days earlier, demanding higher pay and shorter workweeks. President Reagan also banned all the fired workers from being rehired.

  • Bertha Benz took a trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim — the first long-distance car trip. (1888) Bertha's husband, Karl Benz, had the patent for the first automobile. She drove her two sons 60 miles (106 kilometers) in her husband's Patent Motorwagen, resulting in worldwide attention.

  • The US government established the first income tax on US citizens. (1861) The Revenue Act of 1861 established a tax of 3 percent on incomes of more than $800 US Dollars. The tax, which was used for financial aid during the Civil War, was rescinded in 1872.

  • The Mayflower departed on its first attempt to sail to North America. (1620) The voyage was to be made by two ships, the Mayflower and the Speedwell, but the Speedwell had a leak. One more attempt was made before the Mayflower made the trip alone.

  • Flogging was abolished in the US Army. (1861) Flogging, or whipping, was a common military punishment. One of the only countries to continue the practice is Singapore, where soldiers can be punished by "caning."

  • An earthquake in Ecuador left 6,000 people dead. (1948) The relatively small 6.7-magnitude earthquake became extra deadly because it caused mudslides. The damage spanned 1,500 square miles (3,885 square kilometers), killing 6,000 and injuring another 20,000. It left about 100,000 people homeless.

Discussion Comments


In relation to the second to last bullet point, I wonder if flogging was abolished in the army because it's considered too harsh of a punishment. After all, other forms of punishment are readily available. Some of these include being forced to run a certain number of miles, or doing a large number of pushups. Besides, if a solider was flogged hard enough, then that might disable them from going out to war, since beatings can cripple you if they're severe enough.

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