Today In History

  • Thursday, June 20, 2013 2:59pm
  • Life

Today is Friday, June 21, the 172nd day of 2013. There are 193 days left in the year. Summer arrives at 1:04 a.m. Eastern time.

Today’s highlight:

On June 21, 1963, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini was chosen during a conclave of his fellow cardinals to succeed the late Pope John XXIII; the new pope took the name Paul VI.

On this date:

In 1788, the United States Constitution went into effect as New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it.

In 1834, Cyrus Hall McCormick received a patent for his reaping machine.

In 1913, Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick became the first woman to parachute from an airplane as she jumped over Los Angeles.

In 1932, heavyweight Max Schmeling lost a title fight rematch in New York by decision to Jack Sharkey, prompting Schmeling’s manager, Joe Jacobs, to exclaim: “We was robbed!”

In 1942, German forces led by Generaloberst (Colonel General) Erwin Rommel captured the Libyan city of Tobruk during World War II. (Following his victory, Rommel was promoted to Field Marshal; Tobruk was retaken by the Allies in November 1942.)

In 1943, Army nurse Lt. Edith Greenwood became the first woman to receive the Soldier’s Medal for showing heroism during a fire at a military hospital in Yuma, Ariz.

In 1964, civil rights workers Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James E. Chaney were murdered in Philadelphia, Miss.; their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam six weeks later.

In 1973, the Supreme Court, in Miller v. California, ruled that states may ban materials found to be obscene according to local standards.

In 1982, a jury in Washington, D.C., found John Hinckley Jr. not guilty by reason of insanity in the shootings of President Ronald Reagan and three other men.

In 1989, a sharply divided Supreme Court ruled that burning the American flag as a form of political protest was protected by the First Amendment.

In 1997, the WNBA made its debut as the New York Liberty defeated the host Los Angeles Sparks 67-57.

In 2005, 41 years to the day after three civil rights workers were beaten and shot to death, Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman, was found guilty of manslaughter in a Mississippi court. (Killen was sentenced to 60 years in prison.)

Ten years ago: Ten weeks after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, President George W. Bush offered a broadly positive status report on the U.S. mission in Iraq in his weekly radio address. Lennox Lewis retained his heavyweight title after a cut stopped Vitali Klitschko after six brawling rounds in Los Angeles. Author Leon Uris died in New York at age 78; playwright George Axelrod died in Los Angeles at age 81.

Five years ago: The ferry Princess of the Stars, carrying more than 800 people, capsized as Typhoon Fengshen battered the Philippines; only some four dozen people survived. The body of a pregnant Army soldier, Spc. Megan Touma, 23, was found submerged in a motel room bathtub in Fayetteville, N.C. (Sgt. Edgar Patino, the unborn baby’s father, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to between 16 to 20 years in prison.) Scott Kalitta died when his Funny Car burst into flames and crashed at the end of the track during the final round of qualifying for the Lucas Oil NHRA SuperNationals at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey.

One year ago: The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously threw out penalties against Fox and ABC television stations that violated the Federal Communications Commission policy regulating curse words and nudity on television, but the justices declined to issue a broader constitutional ruling. Miami’s LeBron James capped his title bid with 26 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in a 121-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Broadway composer-lyricist Richard Adler, 90, died in Southhampton, N.Y.

Associated Press

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