May 5, 1961
SHEPARD IS 1ST AMERICAN IN SPACE
NASA astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. was launched aboard the “Freedom 7” spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida today becoming the 1st American to go into outer space.
Alan B. Shepard, Jr. Aboard Freedom 7
Navy Commander Shepard’s suborbital flight lasted 15 minutes & traveled 116 miles into the atmosphere.
Alan B. Shepard, Jr. was born in Derry, New Hampshire & graduated from the US Naval Academy in 1944.
He was selected as one of the 110 test pilots by NASA in 1959 for potential astronaut selection. He made the final cut to become one of the “Mercury 7”.*
*Commander Shepard was presented with the Distinguished Service Medal by JFK on May 8, 1961.
A decade later, he returned to space as commander of the Apollo 14 & walked on the moon.
He died on July 21, 1998.
JFK Congratulates Alan B. Shepard, Jr.
May 5, 1961
JFK SIGNS MINIMUM WAGE BILL
President John F. Kennedy signed the bill passed by Congress which will provide an increase in the minimum wage from $1 to $1.15 this year & to $1.25 next year.
The bill also adds 3.6 million additional workers to those already covered by Federal minimum wages laws.
May 5, 1963
JFK ADDRESSES MACHINISTS
President Kennedy today gave an address to the International Association of Machinists. He said:
“One of the great things about this country has been that our most extraordinary accomplishments have not come from government down, or from the top down, but have come from the bottom up.”
May 5, 1985
PRESIDENT REAGAN VISITS BERGEN-BELSEN
President Ronald Reagan visited the site of the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen today in northwest Germany.
Standing alongside a mass grave of 50,000 victims, President Reagan said:
“Here they lie. Never to hope. Never to pray. Never to love. Never to heal. Never to laugh. Never to cry.”
President Reagan Lays a Wreath at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial
Photograph from http://www.reagan.utexas.edu
May 5, 1955
MILITARY OCCUPATION OF WEST GERMANY ENDS
The US, France & Britain today ended their military occupation of West Germany. In turn, the Federal Republic of Germany, established in 1954, becomes a member of the western alliance.
The FRG may establish its own army of up to 500,000 & may also resume the manufacture of arms.
May 5, 1904
CY YOUNG HURLS PERFECT GAME
Boston Red Sox pitcher, Cy Young, threw a perfect game against the Detroit Tigers today.
This perfect game is the 1st of the 20th Century.
The previous perfect game was by John Montgomery Ward in 1880.
Denton True Young was born in Gilmore, Ohio. His teammates in Cleveland called him “Cyrus” to poke fun at his country background.*
*Cy Young, namesake for the most prestigious annual award for pitchers in MLB, holds the record for the most wins at 511.
Cy Young, Boston Red Sox (1905)
Photo from http://www.helloboston.com
May 5, 1862
MEXICAN ARMY DEFEATS FRENCH AT PUEBLA
An outnumbered Mexican army led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin won a victory today at Puebla de Los Angeles.
In the Battle of Puebla, the French army suffered 500 casualties while the Mexican army had less than 100.*
*The “5th of May” is celebrated in Mexico & around the world as “Cinco de Mayo”.
Cinco de Mayo Performance (2007)
White House Photo
May 5, 1821
NAPOLEON DIES AT ST. HELENA
Napoleon Bonaparte, the once powerful emperor of the French Empire, died today as a British prisoner on the island of St. Helena off the coast of Africa.
After having met defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, Napoleon was sent into exile.
The emperor’s body is to be returned to Paris for burial.
Napoleon in Exile at St. Helena