Today is Wednesday, June 17, the 168th day of 2009. There are 197 days left in the year.
Thought for Today: “Journalism allows its readers to witness history; fiction gives its readers an opportunity to live it.“ _ John Hersey, American author (born this date in 1914, died 1993).
Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 17, 1775, the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill took place near Boston. The battle (which actually occurred on Breed’s Hill) was a costly victory for the British, who suffered heavy losses while dislodging the rebels.
In 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor aboard the French ship Isere.
In 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on a trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales with pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, becoming the first woman to make the trip as a passenger.
In 1944, the republic of Iceland was established.
In 1957, mob underboss Frank Scalice was shot to death at a produce market in the Bronx, N.Y.
In 1959, a British court awarded American entertainer Liberace 8,000 pounds (the equivalent of $22,400) in his libel suit against the Daily Mirror over an article that Liberace charged implied he was a homosexual.
In 1961, Soviet ballet dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected to the West while his troupe was in Paris.
In 1969, the raunchy musical review “Oh! Calcutta!“ opened in New York.
In 1971, the United States and Japan signed a treaty under which Okinawa would revert to Japanese control.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon’s eventual downfall began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic national headquarters in Washington, D.C.‘s Watergate complex.
In 1986, President Ronald Reagan announced the retirement of Chief Justice Warren Burger, who was succeeded by William Rehnquist.
Ten years ago: The Republican-controlled House narrowly voted to loosen restrictions on sales at gun shows, marking a victory for the National Rifle Association. Joseph Stanley Faulder, a former auto mechanic who’d killed a woman during a 1975 burglary, became the first Canadian to be executed in the United States in almost half a century as he was lethally injected in Huntsville, Texas.
Five years ago: A bipartisan report found that officials, blindsided by terrorists and beset by poor communications, were so slow to react on Sept. 11, 2001, that the last of four hijacked planes had crashed by the time Vice President Dick Cheney ordered hostile aircraft shot down. President George W. Bush disputed the Sept. 11 commission’s finding that Saddam Hussein had no strong ties to al-Qaida. A sport utility vehicle packed with artillery shells slammed into a crowd waiting to volunteer for the Iraqi military, killing 35 people.
One year ago: Hundreds of same-sex couples got married across California on the first full day that gay marriage became legal by order of the state’s highest court. (However, California voters later approved Proposition 8, which restricted nuptials to a union between a man and a woman.) A truck bombing in Baghdad killed 63 people. Four British soldiers were killed by an explosive in Afghanistan’s Helmand province. The Boston Celtics won their 17th NBA title with a stunning 131-92 blowout over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6. Igor Larionov and Glenn Anderson were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame along with former linesman Ray Scapinello and junior hockey builder Ed Chynoweth. Actress-dancer Cyd Charisse died in Los Angeles at age 86.
Actor Peter Lupus is 77
Singer Barry Manilow is 63
Comedian Joe Piscopo is 58
Actor Mark Linn-Baker is 55
Musician Philip Chevron (The Pogues) is 52
Actor Jon Gries is 52
Movie producer-director-writer Bobby Farrelly is 51
Actor Thomas Haden Church is 48
Actor Greg Kinnear is 46
Actress Kami Cotler (“The Waltons”) is 44
Olympic gold-medal speed skater Dan Jansen is 44
Actor Jason Patric is 43
R&B singer Kevin Thornton is 40
Actor-comedian Will Forte is 39
Latin pop singer Paulina Rubio is 38
Tennis player Venus Williams is 29
Washington Redskins defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth is 28
Actor-rapper Herculeez (Herculeez and Big Tyme) is 26
Actor Damani Roberts is 13