May 15: A Day of Beginnings, Violence and Heroism

May 15 represents a number of beginnings from Las Vegas to Israel, violence from Jackson State to Jerusalem to George Wallace’s attempted assassination and a daring rescue of a runaway train.


Viva Las Vegas

Las Vegas, Nevada, is founded when 110 acres in what later would become downtown, are auctioned off.


Winnipeg General Strike Begins

The Winnipeg General Strike begins. By 11:00 am, almost the whole working population of Winnipeg, Manitoba had walked off the job.   It culminates 37 days later on Bloody Saturday.


First McDonald’s Opens


First McDonald’s opens in San Bernardino, California.Today there are more than 34,000 stores worldwide.


Israel Declares Independence

Hours after declaring its independence, the new state of Israel was attacked by Transjordan, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.


Mercury-Atlas 9 Launch

The launch of the final Mercury mission, Mercury-Atlas 9 with astronaut L. Gordon Cooper on board. He becomes the first American to spend more than a day in space.


Two Dead at Jackson State

Just 11 days after the shootings at Kent State in Ohio, forty Mississippi state patrolmen fired 140 shots into a Jackson State dormitory – killing two.


George Wallace Shot on Eve of Maryland Primary

Alabama Governor George Wallace was the leading segregationist in the 1960’s but by 1972 he announced he had “moderated” and no longer sought segregation but opposed forced busing to desegregate schools.  While campaigning in the Democratic Presidential Primaries in Laurel, Maryland, Wallace was shot five times by Arthur Bremer.   Wallace was hit in the abdomen and chest, and one of the bullets lodged in Wallace’s  spine leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.  Wallace would win in Maryland and Michigan the next day, placing him in second in the delegate count and in first in the popular vote.  


Soviet Union Begins Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Soviet Union begins withdrawal from Afghanistan after invading in 1979.  The Soviets lost 9,500 soldiers during the war while 75,000 too 100,000 Afghan Mujahideen were killed and 850,000 to 1.5 million civilians killed.


Runaway Train Threatens Ohio

A runaway freight train rolled about 70 miles through Ohio with no one aboard before a railroad employee jumped onto the locomotive and brought it to a stop.   Denzel Washington starred in the movie based on the event.


Gay Marriage Debuts in California

California Supreme Court declared gay couples in the state could marry – a victory for the gay rights movement that was overturned by the passage of Proposition 8 the following November


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