Wednesday, December 5 has been declared a national day of mourning in the United States, in honor of former President George H.W. Bush, who died on November 30. Bush is the 12th US president to lie in state at the Capitol rotunda in Washington, DC. Today, a public funeral service will take place at the Washington National Cathedral. On this day of mourning, federal government agencies will be closed, as well as other institutions, including the New York Stock Exchange. Our photo shows the Capitol dome on December 3, with flags flying at half-staff in honor of the former president and World War II veteran.
Date: Dec 05, 1945
Destination: Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale
Aircraft type: Grumman TBF Avenger
Flight 19’s scheduled navigation exercise on December 5, 1945. 1. Leave NAS Fort Lauderdale 14:10 on heading 091°, drop bombs at Hen and Chickens shoals (B) until about 15:00 then continue on heading 091° for 73 nautical miles (140 km) 2. Turn left to heading 346° and fly 73 nautical miles (140 km). 3. Turn left to heading 241° for 120 nautical miles (220 km) to end exercise north of NAS Fort Lauderdale. 4. 17:50 radio triangulation establishes flight’s position to within 50 nautical miles (93 km) of 29°N 79°W and their last reported course, 270°. 5. PBM Mariner leaves NAS Banana River 19:27. 6. 19:50 Mariner explodes near 28°N 80°W.
Also on this day,
1791 | Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies at age 35
Ill for weeks and rushing to finish composing his requiem, Mozart dies in Vienna. During his final years, he wrote some of his most enduring music and his financial situation had brightened, slightly. What killed him? Historians largely dismiss rumors that his rival poisoned him and point to natural causes.1933 | Champagne corks pop as prohibition ends in America
Utah casts the last vote needed to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution that repeals the now-reviled 18th Amendment, which had made the manufacture, sale, and transport of alcohol illegal. Some states will opt to stay dry for years, and Mississippi won’t repeal prohibition until 1966.1952 | Smog kills thousands in London
A heavy smog forms over London in the afternoon, and “The Great Smog,” a toxic mix of pollution from nearby factories, cars, and wood smoke, will become so dense over the following days that it’ll block out sunlight. Over 4,000 people will die from respiratory distress in the choking haze.
Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933. During the 19th century, alcoholism, family violence, and saloon-based political corruption prompted activists, led by pietistic Protestants, to end the alcoholic beverage trade to cure the ill society and weaken the political opposition. One result was that many communities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries introduced alcohol prohibition, with the subsequent enforcement in law becoming a hotly debated issue. Prohibition supporters, called drys, presented it as a victory for public morals and health.
Promoted by the "dry" crusaders, the movement was led by pietistic Protestants and social Progressives in the Prohibition, Democratic, and Republican parties. It gained a national grass roots base through the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. After 1900 it was coordinated by the Anti-Saloon League. Opposition from the beer industry mobilized "wet" supporters from the Catholic and German Lutheran communities. They had funding to fight back but by 1917–18 the German community had been marginalized by the nation's war against Germany, and the brewing industry was shut down in state after state by the legislatures and finally nationwide under the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920. Enabling legislation, known as the Volstead Act, set down the rules for enforcing the federal ban and defined the types of alcoholic beverages that were prohibited. For example, religious use of wine was allowed. Private ownership and consumption of alcohol were not made illegal under federal law, but local laws were stricter in many areas, with some states banning possession outright.
In the 1920s the laws were widely disregarded, and tax revenues were lost. Very well organized criminal gangs took control of the beer and liquor supply for many cities, unleashing a crime wave that shocked the nation. By the late 1920s a new opposition mobilized nationwide. Wets attacked prohibition as causing crime, lowering local revenues, and imposing rural Protestant religious values on urban America. Prohibition ended with the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, which repealed the Eighteenth Amendment on December 5, 1933. Some states continued statewide prohibition, marking one of the last stages of the Progressive Era.
Although popular opinion believes that Prohibition failed, it succeeded in cutting overall alcohol consumption in half during the 1920s, and consumption remained below pre-Prohibition levels until the 1940s, suggesting that Prohibition did socialize a significant proportion of the population in temperate habits, at least temporarily. Some researchers contend that its political failure is attributable more to a changing historical context than to characteristics of the law itself. Criticism remains that Prohibition led to unintended consequences such as the growth of urban crime organizations and a century of Prohibition-influenced legislation. As an experiment it lost supporters every year, and lost tax revenue that governments needed when the Great Depression began in 1929.
Map showing dry (red), wet (blue), and mixed (yellow) counties in the United States as of March 2012. (See List of dry communities by U.S. state.)