Aug-1: A Day of Tragedy and Firsts

August 1 is a day of first – the first U.S. Census, the first woman President in the world, the launch of MTV and the fastest conventional rail line.  It is also a day of great tragedy from the Warsaw Uprising, to the University Texas Tower shootings to the collapse of I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis.


First U.S. Census Completed

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Warsaw Uprising

The Polish resistance launched the Warsaw uprising to drive the Nazi forces from the city as the Soviet Army approached.  The Soviet advance stopped short of the city, enabling the Germans to regroup and crush the resistance after 63 days.  During the combat and following the surrender of Polish forces, German troops levelled 60 percent of Warsaw’s buildings.  Some contend that Stalin halted the Soviet advance to let the Germans crush the Polish resistance.


Univ of Texas Tower Shooting

From Wikipedia:  Charles Whitman, a former Marine sharpshooter, took rifles and other weapons to the observation deck atop the Main Building tower at The University of Texas at Austin, then opened fire on persons indiscriminately on the surrounding campus and streets. Over the next 96 minutes he shot and killed fifteen people including one unborn child and injured thirty-one others; another victim died in hospital and the final victim died from the lingering effects of his wounds in 2001, and his death was ruled a homicide. The incident ended when police reached Whitman and shot him dead.

Texas commemorated the 50th anniversary of the shooting by permitting open carry of firearms on campus.  Which triggered this unusual protest.


Worlds First Female President Takes Office

Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, a divorced single-mother, became Iceland’s fourth President and the world’s first democratically directly elected female president.  She would hold office through 1996 making her the longest-serving elected female head of state of any country to date.


MTV Debuts

MTV launched as music video channel, airing The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star,” followed by Pat Benatar’s “You Better Run.”


I-35 Mississippi River Bridge Collapse

The I-35W Mississippi River bridge, an 8-lane that crossed the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed during evening rush hour killing 13 people  and injuring 145. The bridge was Minnesota’s third busiest, carrying 140,000 vehicles daily.  The bridge collapsed highlighted the vulnerability of bridges nationwide.



Beijing-Tianjin Railway Line Opens as World’s Fastest

The Beijing–Tianjin Intercity Railway high speed rail line runs 72.7 miles and travels at a maximum speed of 217 mph.  When the line opened on August 1, 2008, it set the record for the fastest conventional train service in the world by top speed, and reduced travel time between the two largest cities in northern China from 70 to 30 minutes.


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