Ruth Burke was 5 years old when The Wright brothers make their first attempt to fly with the Wright Flyer at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, were two American aviators, engineers, inventors, and aviation pioneers who are generally credited with inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful airplane. They made the first controlled, sustained flight of a powered, heavier-than-air aircraft on December 17, 1903, four miles south of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In 1904–05 the brothers developed their flying machine into the first practical fixed-wing aircraft. Although not the first to build experimental aircraft, the Wright brothers were the first to invent aircraft controls that made fixed-wing powered flight possible.
Ruth Burke was 16 years old when Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated by a Yugoslav nationalist named Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, sparking the outbreak of World War I. Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Este was a member of the imperial Habsburg dynasty, and from 1896 until his death the heir presumptive (Thronfolger) to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia, which in turn triggered a series of events that resulted in Austria-Hungary's allies and Serbia's declaring war on each other, starting World War I.