Today in History
Today in History:
On June 24, 1964, AT&T inaugurated commercial “Picturephone” service between New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., as Lady Bird Johnson, wife of the president, called Dr. Elizabeth A. Wood of Bell Laboratories in New York. (Requiring the use of video booths, with a 3-minute call from Washington to New York costing $16, and a $27 charge for a 3-minute call between New York and Chicago, Picturephone never caught on.)
On this date:
In 1314, the forces of Scotland's Robert the Bruce defeated the English in the Battle of Bannockburn.
In 1509, Henry VIII was crowned king of England; his wife, Catherine of Aragon, was crowned queen consort.
In 1793, the first republican constitution in France was adopted.
In 1880, “O Canada,” the future Canadian national anthem, was first performed in Quebec City.
In 1908, the 22nd and 24th presidents of the United States, Grover Cleveland, died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 71.
In 1939, the Southeast Asian country Siam changed its name to Thailand. (It went back to being Siam in 1945, then became Thailand once again in 1949.)
In 1940, France signed an armistice with Italy during World War II.
In 1948, Communist forces cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the western allies to organize the Berlin Airlift.
In 1968, “Resurrection City,” a shantytown constructed as part of the Poor People's March on Washington D.C., was closed down by authorities.
In 1975, 113 people were killed when an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed while attempting to land during a thunderstorm at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger — carrying America's first woman in space, Sally K. Ride — coasted to a safe landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
In 1993, David Gelernter, a Yale University computer scientist, was seriously injured by a mail bomb sent from the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski.
Ten years ago: Federal investigators questioned President George W. Bush for more than an hour in connection with the news leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity. In a bizarre conclusion to a huge upset, the chair umpire called the wrong score in the second tiebreaker, and Venus Williams fell 7-6 (5), 7-6 (6) to Karolina Sprem in the second round at Wimbledon.
Five years ago: South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford admitted he had secretly flown to Argentina to visit a woman with whom he was having an affair, and said he would resign as head of the Republican Governors Association. Ed Thomas, the football coach of Aplington-Parkersburg High School in Iowa for 34 years, was gunned down by former player Mark Becker. (Becker was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.) The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced plans to double the number of best picture nominees to 10 for the 2010 Oscar ceremony. (The winner under this revised system was “The Hurt Locker.”)
One year ago: Opening statements took place in the Sanford, Florida, trial of George Zimmerman, accused of murdering 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. (Zimmerman was acquitted.) Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's flamboyant former premier, was sentenced to seven years in prison and banned from politics for life for paying an underaged prostitute for sex during parties and forcing public officials to cover it up (Berlusconi is appealing his conviction). The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup with a stunning 3-2 comeback victory in Game 6 over the Boston Bruins. In one of Wimbledon's greatest upsets, an ailing Rafael Nadal was knocked out in straight sets by 135th-ranked Steve Darcis of Belgium, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (8), 6-4.
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