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1. In 1914, the first vessel passed through the newly constructed Illinois Waterway, which connected the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan through a system of locks and dams.

2. On May 8, 1918, Milton Olive III was born in Chicago. Olive would go on to become the first African American Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War for his heroic actions in 1965.

3. The deadliest tornado in Illinois history occurred on May 8, 1887, when a powerful storm struck the town of Windsor, killing 244 people and injuring over 400 more.

4. In 1869, the Illinois legislature passed a law prohibiting the sale of liquor on Sundays. This law remained in effect until 1989, when the state finally repealed its blue laws.

5. May 8, 1865, marked the beginning of the trial of the conspirators involved in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The trial took place in Washington, D.C., and ultimately resulted in the execution of four of the accused.

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