Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 15, 1215, England’s King John put his seal to Magna Carta (“the Great Charter”) at Runnymede.
On this date:
In 1775, the Second Continental Congress voted unanimously to appoint George Washington head of the Continental Army.
In 1864, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton signed an order establishing a military burial ground which became Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
In 1902, the 20th Century Limited, an express passenger train between New York and Chicago, began service. (The Limited made its last run in December 1967.)
In 1904, more than 1,000 people died when fire erupted aboard the steamboat General Slocum in New York’s East River.
In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act making the National Guard part of the U.S. Army in the event of war or national emergency.
In 1944, American forces began their successful invasion of Saipan (sy-PAN’) during World War II. B-29 Superfortresses carried out their first raids on Japan.
In 1955, the United States and Britain signed a cooperation agreement concerning atomic information for “mutual defence purposes.”
In 1985, the Shiite Muslim hijackers of a TWA Boeing 727 beat and shot one of their hostages, U.S. Navy diver Robert Stethem (STEE’-them), 23, throwing him out of the plane to die on the tarmac at Beirut airport.
In 1988, the baseball romantic comedy “Bull Durham,” starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon, was released by Orion Pictures.
In 1991, Mount Pinatubo in the northern Philippines exploded in one of the biggest volcanic eruptions of the 20th century, killing about 800 people.
In 1996, Ella Fitzgerald, the “first lady of song,” died in Beverly Hills, California, at age 79.
In 2003, with a deadline passed for Iraqis to hand in heavy weapons, U.S. forces fanned out across Iraq to seize arms and put down potential foes.
Ten years ago: Pushing back against congressional criticism, the White House said that President Barack Obama had the authority to continue U.S. military action in Libya even without authorization from lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was released from a Houston hospital, five months after being shot in the head during a Tucson political event. The Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1972, beating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in Game 7 of the finals; angry, drunken Vancouver fans ran wild, setting cars on fire and looting stores.
Five years ago: The interim police chief in Oakland, California, Ben Fairow, was abruptly removed after six days on the job by Mayor Libby Schaaf, who said she had lost confidence in Fairow’s ability to lead the department amid a widening sex scandal in which a number of officers allegedly had sex with a teenage prostitute. A public funeral was held in Detroit for hockey legend Gordie Howe, who had died five days earlier at age 88.
One year ago: The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, ruled that a landmark civil rights law protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment. European countries reopened borders after a three-month coronavirus shutdown; international visitors were still kept away. U.S. regulators revoked emergency authorization for malaria drugs promoted by President Donald Trump for treating COVID-19 amid evidence that they didn’t work and could cause serious side effects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said death rates for coronavirus patients with chronic illnesses were 12 times higher than for others who became infected. The Seattle City Council voted unanimously to bar police from using tear gas, pepper spray and several other crowd control devices after officers repeatedly used them on mostly peaceful demonstrators protesting racism and police brutality.
Today’s Birthdays: R&B singer Ruby Nash Garnett (Ruby and the Romantics) is 87. Funk musician Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) is 75. Actor Simon Callow is 72. Singer Russell Hitchcock (Air Supply) is 72.
Rock singer Steve Walsh(Kansas) is 70. Chinese President Xi Jinping is 68. Actor-comedian Jim Belushi is 67. Country singer Terri Gibbs is 67. Actor Julie Hagerty is 66. Actor Polly Draper is 66. Rock musician Brad Gillis (Night Ranger) is 64. Baseball Hall of Famer Wade Boggs is 63. Actor Eileen Davidson is 62. Actor Helen Hunt is 58. Rock musician Scott Rockenfield (Queensryche) is 58. Actor Courteney Cox is 57. Country musician Tony Ardoin is 57. Country musician Michael Britt (Lonestar) is 55. Actor-rapper Ice Cube is 52. Actor Leah Remini is 51. Actor Jake Busey is 50. Actor Neil Patrick Harris is 48. Actor Greg Vaughan is 48. Actor Elizabeth Reaser is 46. Rock singer Dryden Mitchell (Alien Ant Farm) is 45. Former child actor Christopher Castile is 41. Rock musician Billy Martin (Good Charlotte) is 40. Actor Jordi Vilasuso is 40. Rock musician Wayne Sermon (Imagine Dragons) is 37. Actor Denzel Whitaker is 31. Olympic gold medal gymnast Madison Kocian is 24. Actor Sterling Jerins is 17.