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This Month in History

JUNE

June 3, 1808 - Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was born at Todd County, Kentucky. After the Southern states formed the Confederacy in 1861, Jefferson was hoping to be named commander of the Confederate military forces but was instead chosen to be president. He served until 1865. After the Civil War, he was imprisoned but never brought to trial. He died at age 81 in New Orleans.

June 4, 1944 - During World War II, Rome was liberated by the U.S. 5th Army, led by General Mark Clark. Rome had been declared an open city by German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring even though there were Allied concerns the Germans might stage a Stalingrad-style defense that would devastate the historic 'Eternal' city.

June 4, 1738 - King George III (1738-1820) was born. He ruled England from 1760 to 1820 and was the British King against whom the American Revolution was directed.

June 5, 1968 - Robert F. Kennedy was shot and fatally wounded while leaving the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles, CA. The shooting occurred after a celebration of Kennedy's victory in the California presidential primary. He died at 1:44 a.m., June 6, at age 42, leaving behind his wife Ethel and eleven children, the last one born after his death. President John F. Kennedy had named his brother and campaign manager, to the post of U.S. Attorney General in 1961. Robert served as the president's closest confidant. After the assassination of JFK, Robert remained Attorney General until 1964, when he resigned to make a successful run for the U.S. Senate from New York. In March of 1968, he announced his candidacy for the presidency, and with the win in California, he appeared headed for the nomination.

June 6, 1755 - American patriot Nathan Hale (1755-1776) was born in Coventry, Connecticut. During the American Revolution, he volunteered for a dangerous spy mission in Long Island and was captured by the British on the night of September 21, 1776. Brought before British General William Howe, Hale admitted he was an American officer and Howe ordered him to be hanged the following morning. As Hale mounted the gallows he proclaimed, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."

June 6, 1872 - Feminist Susan B. Anthony was fined for voting in a presidential election in Rochester, New York. After voting rights had been granted to African American males by the 15th Amendment, she attempted to extend the same rights to women. She led a group of women that voted illegally, to test their status as citizens. She was arrested, tried and sentenced to pay $100, which she refused. Following her death in 1906, the Democratic and Republican parties both endorsed women's right to vote. In August of 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally ratified, allowing women to vote.

June 6, 1944 - D-Day began in the early-morning hours as Allied forces landed in Normandy on the northern coast of France. Operation Overlord took months of planning and involved 1,527,000 soldiers in 47 Allied divisions, along with 4,400 ships and landing craft, and 11,000 aircraft. The Germans had 60 divisions that spread along France and the Low Countries. American forces landed on two western beaches, Utah and Omaha, while British and Canadian troops landed farther east on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. By the end of the day, 150,000 Allied soldiers and their accompanying vehicles had landed with 15,000 killed and wounded.

June 6, 1978 - By a vote of two to one, California voters approved Proposition 13, an amendment to the state constitution that severely limiting property tax rates.

June 10, 1652 - In Massachusetts, silversmith John Hull opened the first mint in America. The first coin issued was the Pine Tree Shilling, designed by Hull.

June 10, 1942 – During World War II in Europe, all 172 men and boys over age 16 in the Czech village of Lidice were shot by Nazis in retaliation for the assassination of SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. The women were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, with some later taken to Nazi orphanages if they were German looking. The village was completely leveled until not a trace remained.

June 11, 1991 - Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, spewing ash into the air, visible for over 60 miles. The surrounding areas were covered with ash and mud created by rainstorms. Nearby U.S. military bases were also damaged.

June 12, 1898 - The Philippines declared their independence from Spain. The islands were named after King Philip II. Once freed from Spain, the islands were then invaded and occupied by U.S. forces. They became an American colony and remained so until after World War II.

June 12, 1924 – George H. W. Bush, the 41st U.S. President, was born in Milton, Massachusetts... During World War II, he was the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy. Following the war, he co-founded a Texas oil equipment manufacturing company. He then entered politics, serving in a variety of roles including in the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, as U.S. liaison to China, C.I.A. director, and two terms as vice-president under Ronald Reagan. Elected to the presidency in 1988, President Bush is best remembered for forging a successful multinational military alliance following the invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, by Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army. However, following the defeat of Iraq, Bush was beset by domestic problems in the U.S. which resulted in a significant drop in popularity and his loss in the 1992 election to Bill Clinton.

June 12, 1963 - Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson, Mississippi. He had been active in seeking integration of schools and voter registration for African Americans in the South. Widespread public outrage following his death led President John F. Kennedy to propose a comprehensive Civil Rights law. Evers was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

June 13, 1786 - American Army General Winfield Scott (1786-1866) was born in Petersburg, Virginia. Nicknamed "Old Fuss and Feathers" because of his formality, he served in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War. He was also nominated for the presidency by the Whig party in 1852 but was defeated by Franklin Pierce.

June 13, 1971 - The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers, which were a collection of top secret documents exposing U.S. strategy in the Vietnam War.

June 13, 1966 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) in the case of Miranda v. Arizona which states that an accused person must be apprised of certain rights before police questioning: the right to remain silent, the right to know that anything said can be used against the individual in court, and the right to have a defense attorney present during interrogation. American police officers now read prisoners their 'Miranda' (constitutional) rights before questioning.

June 14, 1775 - The first U.S. Military service, the Continental Army, consisting of six companies of riflemen, was established by the Second Continental Congress. The next day, George Washington was appointed by a unanimous vote to command the army.

June 14, 1777 - John Adams introduced a resolution before Congress mandating a United States flag. It stated, "...that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation." The anniversary is celebrated each year in the U.S. as Flag Day.

June 14, 1922 - Warren G. Harding became the first U.S. President to broadcast a message over the radio. The broadcast event was the dedication of the Francis Scott Key Memorial in Baltimore.

June 14, 1951 - Univac 1, the world's first commercial electronic computer was unveiled in Philadelphia. It was installed at the Census Bureau and used a magnetic tape unit as a buffer memory.

June 15, 1215 - King John set his seal to the Magna Carta, which was the first charter of British liberties, guaranteeing basic rights that have since become the foundation of modern democracies around the world.

June 17, 1972 - Following a seemingly routine burglary, five men were arrested at the National Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. The subsequent investigations revealed that the burglars were actually agents hired by the Committee for the Re-election of President Richard Nixon. A chain of events then followed in which the president and top aides became involved in an extensive cover-up of this and other White House sanctioned illegal activities, eventually leading to the resignation of President Nixon on August 9, 1974.

June 18, 1812 - After much debate, the U.S. Senate voted 19 to 13 in favor of a declaration of war against Great Britain. The declaration was prompted by Britain's violation of America's rights on the high seas and British incitement of Indian warfare on the Western frontier. The next day, President James Madison proclaimed the U.S. to be in a state of war. The War of 1812 lasted over two years and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium on December 24, 1814.

June 18, 1983 - Dr. Sally Ride, a 32-year-old physicist and pilot, became the first American woman in space. She was part of a six-day mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger, launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

June 19, 1953 - Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed by electrocution at Sing Sing Prison in New York. They had been found guilty of providing vital information on the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union during 1944-45. They were the first U.S. citizens to be sentenced to death for espionage and were also the only married couple ever executed together in the U.S.

June 20, 1782 - The U.S. Congress adopted the Great Seal of the United States of America.

June 20, 1924 - American military hero and actor Audie Murphy (1924-1971) was born in Kingston, Texas. He was the most decorated American soldier of World War II. He was awarded 37 medals and decorations, including the Medal of Honor for single-handedly turning back a German infantry company by climbing on a burning U.S. tank destroyer and firing its .50-cal. machine gun, killing 50 Germans. He later became an actor in western and war movies and made 45 films including; The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Destry (1954), and To Hell and Back (1955), based on his autobiography. He died May 28, 1971, in a plane crash near Roanoke, Virginia.

June 23, 1865 - The last formal surrender of Confederate troops occurred as Cherokee leader and Confederate Brigadier General Watie surrendered his troops comprised of American Indians in the Oklahoma Territory.

June 24, 1948 - Soviet Russia began a blockade of Berlin. Two days later, the Allies responded with an emergency airlift to relieve two million isolated West Berliners. During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. A plane landed in Berlin every minute from eleven Allied staging areas in West Germany. The Russians lifted their blockade of Berlin on May 12, 1949.

June 25, 1862 - During the American Civil War, the Seven Days Campaign began as Confederate General Robert E. Lee launched a series of assaults to prevent a Union attack on Richmond, Virginia. The Campaign included battles at Oak Grove, Gaine's Mills, Garnett's Farm, Golding's Farm, Savage's Station, White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill. These assaults resulted in over 36,000 casualties on both sides. Despite losing the final assault at Malvern Hill, the Confederates succeeded in preventing the Union Army from taking Richmond.

June 25, 1876 - General George A. Custer leads 250 men and attacked an encampment of Sioux Indians near Little Bighorn River in Montana. Custer and his men were then attacked by 2000-4000 Indian braves. Only one scout and a single horse survived 'Custer's Last Stand' on the Little Bighorn Battlefield. News of the humiliating defeat infuriated Americans and led to an all-out war. Within a year, the Sioux Indians were a broken and defeated nation.

June 25, 1950 - The Korean War began as North Korean troops, led by Russian-built tanks, crossed the 38th parallel and launched a full scale invasion of South Korea. Five days later, U.S. ground forces entered the conflict, which lasted until July 27, 1953. An armistice was signed at Panmunjom, and formally divided the country at the 38th parallel into North and South Korea.

June 25, 1990 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that it was unconstitutional for any state to require, without providing other options, a minor to notify both parents before obtaining an abortion.

June 26, 1945 - The United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco by 50 nations. The Charter was ratified on October 24, 1945.

June 28, 1862 - During the American Civil War, the siege of the Confederate city of Vicksburg began as Admiral David Farragut took a fleet past the Mississippi River stronghold. The siege continued over a year.

June 28, 1914 - Archduke Francis Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria, and his wife, were assassinated at Sarajevo after a conflict between the Austro-Hungarian government and Serbia that escalated into World War I.

June 28, 1919 - The signing of the Treaty of Versailles formally ended World War I. Germany was assessed sole blame for the war, forced give up of Alsace-Lorraine and overseas colonies, and pay reparations of $15 billion. The treaty also prohibited German rearmament.

June 29, 1972 - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that capital punishment was a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibiting "cruel and unusual punishment." The decision spared the lives of 600 individuals sitting on death row. Four years later the Court reversed itself and determined the death penalty was not cruel and unusual punishment. On October 4, 1976, the ban was lifted on the death penalty in cases involving murder.

June 30, 1971 - The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted, granting the right to vote in all federal, state and local elections to American citizens 18 years or older. The U.S. gained an additional 11 million voters. The minimum voting age in most states had been 21.

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