Today is Wednesday, June 20, the 172nd day of 2012. There are 194 days left in the year. Summer arrives at 4:09 p.m.
On June 20, 1782, Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States, featuring the emblem of the bald eagle.
On this date:
In 1791, King Louis XVI of France and his family attempted to flee the country in the so-called “Flight to Varennes,” but were caught.
In 1837, Queen Victoria acceded to the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV.
In 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state.
In 1893, a jury in New Bedford, Mass., found Lizzie Borden not guilty of the ax murders of her father and stepmother.
In 1921, U.S. Rep. Alice Mary Robertson, R-Okla., became the first woman to preside over a session of the House of Representatives.
In 1947, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was shot dead at the Beverly Hills, Calif., mansion of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, apparently at the order of mob associates.
In 1948, the variety series “Toast of the Town,” hosted by Ed Sullivan, debuted on CBS television.
In 1963, the United States and Soviet Union signed an agreement to set up a “hotline” between the two superpowers.
In 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted. (Ali’s conviction was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court).
In 1972, three days after the arrest of the Watergate burglars, President Richard Nixon met at the White House with his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman; the secretly made tape recording of this meeting ended up with the notorious 18½-minute gap.
In 1979, ABC News correspondent Bill Stewart was shot to death in Managua, Nicaragua, by a member of President Anastasio Somoza’s national guard.
In 1982, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Bald Eagle Day.
Ten years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 6-3, in Atkins v. Virginia that executing mentally disabled murderers was unconstitutionally cruel.
Five years ago: For the second time, President George W. Bush vetoed an embryonic stem cell bill as he urged scientists toward what he termed “ethically responsible” research. Sammy Sosa, playing for the Texas Rangers after a year out of baseball, hit his 600th home run, making him the fifth player to reach the milestone. (The round-tripper came in the fifth inning of Texas’ 7-3 victory over Sosa’s former team, the Chicago Cubs.)
One year ago: Syrian President Bashar Assad promised a national dialogue to consider political reforms, but his vague overtures to a pro-democracy uprising fell flat as protesters took to the streets shouting “Liar!” and demanding his ouster. “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn was killed in a fiery car crash near Philadelphia; he was 34.