Today is Thursday, June 18, the 170th day of 2020. There are 196 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 18, 1983, astronaut Sally K. Ride became America’s first woman in space as she and four colleagues blasted off aboard the space shuttle Challenger on a six-day mission.
On this date:
In 1812, the War of 1812 began as the United States Congress approved, and President James Madison signed, a declaration of war against Britain.
In 1815, Napoleon Bonaparte met defeat at Waterloo as British and Prussian troops defeated the French in Belgium.
In 1940, during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill urged his countrymen to conduct themselves in a manner that would prompt future generations to say, “This was their finest hour.” Charles de Gaulle delivered a speech on the BBC in which he rallied his countrymen after the fall of France to Nazi Germany.
In 1945, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower received a tumultuous welcome in Washington D.C., where he addressed a joint session of Congress.
In 1953, a U.S. Air Force Douglas C-124 Globemaster II crashed near Tokyo, killing all 129 people on board. Egypt’s 148-year-old Muhammad Ali Dynasty came to an end with the overthrow of the monarchy and the proclamation of a republic.
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson and Japanese Prime Minister Hayato Ikeda spoke to each other by telephone as they inaugurated the first trans-Pacific cable completed by AT&T between Japan and Hawaii.
In 1971, Southwest Airlines began operations, with flights between Dallas and San Antonio, and Dallas and Houston.
In 1979, President Jimmy Carter and Soviet President Leonid I. Brezhnev signed the SALT II strategic arms limitation treaty in Vienna.
In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Georgia v. McCollum, ruled that criminal defendants could not use race as a basis for excluding potential jurors from their trials.
In 1996, Richard Allen Davis was convicted in San Jose, California, of the 1993 kidnap-murder of 12-year-old Polly Klaas of Petaluma. (Davis remains on death row.)
In 2007, nine firefighters died in a fire at a furniture store and warehouse in Charleston, South Carolina.
In 2018, President Donald Trump announced that he was directing the Pentagon to create the “Space Force” as an independent service branch. Troubled rapper-singer XXXTentacion (ex ex ex ten-ta-see-YAWN’) was shot and killed in Florida in what police called an apparent robbery attempt.
Ten years ago: Death row inmate Ronnie Lee Gardner died in a barrage of bullets as Utah carried out its first firing squad execution in 14 years. (Gardner had been sentenced to death for fatally shooting attorney Michael Burdell during a failed escape attempt from a Salt Lake City courthouse.)
Five years ago: In dueling decisions about free speech, the Supreme Court upheld Texas’ refusal to issue a license plate bearing the Confederate battle flag and struck down an Arizona town’s restrictions on temporary signs put up by a small church. Texas death row inmate Gregory Russeau was executed for the 2001 slaying of James Syvertson, a 75-year-old East Texas auto repair shop owner, during a crack cocaine binge.
One year ago: President Donald Trump officially kicked off his reelection campaign at a rally attended by thousands in Orlando, Florida; he told the crowd that he’d been “under assault from the very first day” by a “fake news media” and an “illegal witch hunt.” Trump announced that Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan was withdrawing his nomination to lead the Pentagon, and that the Secretary of the Army, Mark Esper, would be the new acting secretary. (Esper was confirmed in July as secretary of defense.) Pacific Gas & Electric agreed to pay $1 billion to 14 local governments to cover damage from a series of deadly wildfires caused by its downed power lines.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is 83. Baseball Hall of Famer Lou Brock is 81. Sir Paul McCartney is 78. Actress Constance McCashin is 73. Actress Linda Thorson is 73. Rock musician John Evans is 72. Former Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., is 70. Actress Isabella Rossellini is 68. Actress Carol Kane is 68. Actor Brian Benben is 64. Actress Andrea Evans is 63. Rock singer Alison Moyet is 59. Rock musician Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses) is 57. Figure skater Kurt Browning is 54. Country singer-musician Tim Hunt is 53. Rock singer-musician Sice (The Boo Radleys) is 51. Rhythm and blues singer Nathan Morris (Boyz II Men) is 49. Actress Mara Hobel is 49. Singer-songwriter Ray LaMontagne is 47. Rapper Silkk the Shocker is 45. Actress Alana de la Garza is 44. Country singer Blake Shelton is 44. Rock musician Steven Chen (Airborne Toxic Event) is 42. Actor David Giuntoli is 40. Drummer Josh Dun (Twenty One Pilots) is 32. Actress Renee Olstead is 31. Actor Jacob Anderson is 30. Actress Willa Holland is 29.
Thought for Today: “Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” — Bernard M. Baruch, American businessman and statesman (1870-1965).