Today in History
Today is Sunday, June 4, the 155th day of 2023. There are 210 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 4, 1942, the World War II Battle of Midway began, resulting in a decisive American victory against Japan and marking the turning point of the war in the Pacific.
On this date:
In 1812, the U.S. House of Representatives approved, by a vote of 79-49, a declaration of war against Britain.
In 1919, Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which said that the right to vote could not be denied or abridged based on gender. The amendment was sent to the states for ratification.
In 1939, the German ocean liner MS St. Louis, carrying more than 900 Jewish refugees from Germany, was turned away by U.S. officials on the Florida coast.
In 1940, during World War II, the Allied military evacuation of some 338,000 troops from Dunkirk, France, ended. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
In 1944, U-505, a German submarine, was captured by a U.S. Navy task group in the south Atlantic; it was the first such capture of an enemy vessel at sea by the U.S. Navy since the War of 1812. The U.S. Fifth Army began liberating Rome.
In 1967, “Mission: Impossible” won outstanding dramatic series and “The Monkees” won outstanding comedy series at the 19th Primetime Emmy Awards.
In 1985, the Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling striking down an Alabama law providing for a daily minute of silence in public schools.
In 1986, Jonathan Jay Pollard, a former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst, pleaded guilty in Washington to conspiring to deliver information related to the national defense to Israel. (Pollard, sentenced to life in prison, was released on parole on Nov. 20, 2015; he moved to Israel after completing parole in December 2020.)
In 1989, a gas explosion in the Soviet Union engulfed two passing trains, killing 575.
In 1990, Dr. Jack Kevorkian carried out his first publicly assisted suicide, helping Janet Adkins, a 54-year-old Alzheimer’s patient from Portland, Oregon, end her life in Oakland County, Michigan.
In 1998, a federal judge sentenced Terry Nichols to life in prison for his role in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people.
In 2020, in the first of a series of memorials set for three cities over six days, celebrities, musicians and political leaders gathered in front of George Floyd’s golden casket in Minneapolis.
Ten years ago: Already heavily criticized for targeting conservative groups, the Internal Revenue Service suffered another blow as new details emerged in a report about senior officials enjoying luxury hotel rooms, free drinks and food at a $4.1 million training conference. France said it confirmed that nerve gas was used “multiple times in a localized way” in Syria. Joey Covington, a former Jefferson Airplane drummer who co-wrote several of the group’s songs, died in a car crash in Palm Springs, California at age 67.
Five years ago: President Donald Trump claimed that he had an “absolute right” to pardon himself, but that it wouldn’t be necessary because had had “done nothing wrong;” Trump also tweeted that the Justice Department’s appointment of a special counsel in the Russia probe was “totally unconstitutional.” The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, but it was a limited decision that didn’t address the larger issue of whether a business can invoke religious objections to refuse service to gay and lesbian people. Howard Schultz announced that he was stepping down as executive chairman of Starbucks, and said public service may be in his future. Saudi Arabia issued its first driver’s licenses to women as the kingdom prepared to lift the world’s only ban on women driving.
One year ago: Family members mourned at funerals for Makenna Lee Elrod and Rojelio Fernandez Torres, 10-year-old elementary school students who were among the 19 children killed in the mass shooting Uvalde, Texas 11 days earlier. The U.S. aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan concluded a naval exercise with South Korea in the Philippine Sea amid signs that North Korea was possibly preparing to conduct its first nuclear test explosion since 2017. Ann Turner Cook, whose cherubic baby face was known the world over as the original Gerber baby, died at age 95.
Sex therapist and media personality Dr. Ruth Westheimer is 95. Actor Bruce Dern is 87. Musician Roger Ball is 79. Actor-singer Michelle Phillips is 79. Jazz musician Anthony Braxton is 78. Rock musician Danny Brown (The Fixx) is 72. Actor Parker Stevenson is 71. Actor Keith David is 67. Blues singer-musician Tinsley Ellis is 66. Actor Eddie Velez is 65. Singer-musician El DeBarge is 62. Actor Julie White is 62. Actor Lindsay Frost is 61. Actor Sean Pertwee is 59. Former tennis player Andrea Jaeger is 58. Opera singer Cecilia Bartoli is 57. R&B singer Al B. Sure! is 55. Actor Scott Wolf is 55. Actor-comedian Rob Huebel is 54. Comedian Horatio Sanz is 54. Actor James Callis is 52. Actor Noah Wyle is 52. Rock musician Stefan Lessard (The Dave Matthews Band) is 49. Actor-comedian Russell Brand is 48. Actor Angelina Jolie is 48. Actor Theo Rossi is 48. Alt-country singer Kasey Chambers is 47. Actor Robin Lord Taylor is 45. Rock musician JoJo Garza (Los Lonely Boys) is 43. Model Bar Refaeli (ruh-FEHL’-lee) is 38. Olympic gold medal figure skater Evan Lysacek is 38. Americana singer Shakey Graves is 36. Rock musician Zac Farro is 33.