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5 Fun Facts About August 3 In Virginia History

---Learn Every Day: VA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history va To: 618-270-4005---

1. On August 3, 1861, one of the first land battles of the American Civil War took place in Fairfax County. Known as the Battle of Fairfax Court House, it lasted for only a few hours but resulted in the Confederates capturing several Union soldiers and artillery pieces.

2. Virginia's first public university, the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, was founded on August 3, 1693. It is the second-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and has educated several founding fathers, including Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe.

3. On August 3, 1926, pioneering aviator Richard E. Byrd made the first flight over the North Pole. Byrd, who hailed from Winchester, Virginia, was a decorated World War I veteran and later became famous for his exploration of the Antarctic.

4. In 1995, Virginia Governor George Allen proclaimed August 3 as the "Day of Unity" in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The act had been instrumental in ending discriminatory voting practices against African Americans and other minority groups.

5. On August 3, 2004, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law designating the town of Damascus as the "Trail Town of Virginia." Located in southwestern Virginia near the Appalachian Trail, Damascus is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts.
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