The Month of August in History

By Mickey Dunaway | Reprinted with Permission by Limitless Magazine  | Cornelius, NC

Ahh. August. Dog Days. When I was growing up as a country boy in very rural southwest Alabama, I heard people mention the hot, hot dog days of August. No Google or Internet back in the mid-1950s. Heck, it took an hour to get to a library from my house. The Mobile Public Library’s Bookmobile came around a few times to show us country folks books from the extensive downtown library. I don’t know if the Bookmobiles carried encyclopedias, but I don’t think so. 

Therefore, in my eight-year-old mind, I learned basically by observation, especially in the summer. And in August, I saw our rabbit dogs lying around in their pen. So, obviously, Dog Days must mean that it is so hot in August that even dogs don’t move. Made sense to me! 

According to Wikipedia, Dog Days were the days …” which Hellenistic astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.”

I like my eight-year-old definition better, and really, I wasn’t too far off.



August 1, 1944Anne Frank wrote the last entry into her Diary.“[I] keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would like to be, and what I could be, if…there weren’t any other people living in the world.” She died at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. 
August 2, 1776Declaration of Independence signed by 55 members of Continental Congress.  The Declaration was approved on July 4 but not formally written and signed until August 2.
August 2, 1939Einstein wrote to FDR about the possibility of an atomic bomb that could destroy an entire city. The nuclear age was born with the dropping of the Fat Boy bomb on Hiroshima six years later.
August 5, 1962Everyone’s Blonde Bombshell, Marilyn Monroe, died of an overdose of sleeping pills at age 36. MM made 29 films in her short career.
August 6, 1945The first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. 105,000 killed immediately, and another 100,000 died of radiation’s effects.
August 6, 1965The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Johnson. Voting is a civil right of every American and protected by the 14th Amendment.
August 7, 1964Gulf of Tonkin (Vietnam) Resolution granted President Johnson full authority to take all necessary measures in prosecuting the Vietnam War. America was now officially and fully engaged in the Vietnam War. 
August 9, 1945The second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. 70,000 killed. Half the city was destroyed.
August 9, 1974Richard Nixon resigned as President effective at 12:00 p.m.The only President ever to resign. Gerald Ford, the only non-elected President, assumed the office. 
August 13, 1961The Berlin Wall came into existence. A significant symbol of the Cold War, it was torn down by the end of 1990.
August 14, 1935President FDR signed into existence the Social Security Act.Also provides funds to states for dependent children, the blind, and administers unemployment insurance. 
August 14, 1945Having been persuaded to sue for peace following the two atomic bombs, Emperor Hirohito surrendered. The surrender document was signed on September 2 aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Harbor with General Douglas MacArthur representing the U.S.
August 15, 1969Woodstock began in a field on Max Yasgur’s dairy farm in Bethel, NY.  Hmmm. I wonder. Did you attend? 
August 16, 1977Elvis died at Memphis Baptist Hospital. Do you remember where you were when you heard? I do.
August 17, 1998Bill Clinton became the first sitting president to testify before a grand jury about a matter affecting him.  Later that evening, he gave a televised address admitting his liaison with White House intern Monica Lewinski. 
August 18, 192019th Amendment granting women the right to vote was ratified as part of a worldwide suffrage movement.Ratification takes approval of two-thirds of Congress and a three-quarters majority of state legislatures. 
August 21, 1959President Eisenhower signed the proclamation granting Hawai’i statehood.Perhaps now, 62 years later, it is time to recognize the misfortunes of the native Hawaiians at the hands of the United States before statehood was granted. 
August 24, 79 A.D.Mt. Vesuvius erupted and destroyed three Italian cities, Pompeii being the most well-known. Archeologists continue to this day uncovering artifacts “frozen” in place by the tons of ash that rained down on them.
August 27, 1910Mother Teresa was born Agnes Bojaxhiu in Skopje, Yugoslavia. She was canonized in September 2016. 
August 28, 1963250,000 people participated in the Civil Rights March on Washington. It was here that Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech.”
August 31, 1997Princess Diana was killed in an automobile wreck in the traffic tunnel that runs parallel to the Seine River.Dodi Fayed, 42, and chauffeur Henri Paul were also killed in the high-speed crash.  Seems like yesterday.


Thoughts on August

That smell of freshly cut grass makes me think of Friday night football in high school. The smell of popcorn and cigar smoke reminds me of the stadium. The cutting of the grass reminds me of the August practice. – GARTH BROOKS

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