A Blast from the Past

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  June 4, 2002 at 7:02 AM
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Today is June 10.

One of the most remembered atrocities of World War II took place on this date in 1942. Nazi German soldiers burned the tiny Czech village of Lidice after shooting 173 men -- all of the town's male inhabitants -- and then shipping the women and children to concentration camps.

The U.S. Marines invaded Cuba on this date in 1898 during the Spanish-American War.

It was on this date in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, that Dr. Robert Smith completed his first day of sobriety. "Doctor Bob" and William Wilson are considered to have founded Alcoholics Anonymous on that day.

Big tobacco lost on this date in 1998, when a jury in Jacksonville, Fla., found the Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. liable in the lung cancer death of a smoker. The jury awarded his family $950,000, including $450,000 in punitive damages -- the first such assessment in a smoking-related lawsuit.

And it was on this date in 1992 that Texas law officers urged a boycott of Time-Warner and Warner Bros. over a recording by rap artist Ice-T that they said encouraged the shooting of officers. The offending track would be removed from the album, and Ice-T later dropped by the label.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is June 11.

She had sparked a nationwide debate over the "right to die." And on this date in 1985, Karen Ann Quinlan died in a New Jersey nursing home -- nearly 10 years after she lapsed into an irreversible coma. Her parents had gone to court to get the hospital to take her off life support, arguing that their daughter would not want to exist that way.

The Republicans nominated Ohio Sen. Warren G. Harding as their presidential candidate on this date in 1920. Harding was considered a "dark horse" candidate. That November, he was elected as the 29th president of the United States. Harding's undistinguished administration was tainted by the Teapot Dome scandal. He died suddenly in San Francisco in August 1923 while on a western speaking tour.

It was on this date in 1990 that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an anti-flag burning law passed by Congress the year before, re-igniting calls for a constitutional amendment outlawing the desecration of the American flag.

And "Jurassic Park" opened on this date in 1993, setting what was then a record for the largest opening-day box-office earnings with $18.2 million in first-day gross ticket sales. The movie was Steven Spielberg's version of the Michael Crichton novel of the same name.

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Two civil-rights rulings occurred on this date. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Loving vs. Virginia that states could not outlaw inter-racial marriages. The ruling swept away all 16 remaining state laws prohibiting inter-racial marriages.

And in 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that white workers who claim to be treated unfairly as a result of affirmative action programs could sue for remedies under civil rights legislation.

It was on this date in 1963 that a sniper killed civil rights leader Medgar Evers in Jackson, Miss. Evers was active in seeking integration of schools and voter registration. Public outrage following his assassination was one of the reasons President Kennedy proposed a comprehensive civil rights law. In February 1994, more than 30 years after Evers's death, a jury convicted Byron De La Beckwith of murder.

Anne Frank was born on this date in 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. When she was a little girl, Frank's family moved to Amsterdam to escape the Nazi persecution of Jews, but after Germany invaded Holland, they went into hiding. Frank began her famous diary in 1942. Her last entry was Aug. 1, 1944. Soon after that, the family was discovered and taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where Anne died in 1945 at age 15. After the war, her father published his daughter's diary, which was later made into a stage play and a movie.

Russia's first-ever direct presidential elections resulted in the election of Boris Yeltsin on this date in 1991.

The special counsel investigating the Whitewater case took sworn depositions from President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on this date in 1994. It was believed to be the first time a sitting president responded directly to questions in a legal case relating to his official conduct.

And the first-ever wedding in the White House Rose Garden took place on this date in 1971. Tricia Nixon, daughter of President Nixon, married Edward Finch Cox.

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Today is June 13.

It was on this date in 1994 that Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of athlete-turned-actor O.J. Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, were found stabbed to death outside her condominium in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles. O.J. Simpson would be charged with the murders, but acquitted in Oct. 1995 following a long and highly publicized criminal trial. However, a civil court jury later would find him liable in the deaths and ordered him to pay more than $35 million to the estates of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.

A bid for freedom by James Earl Ray, convicted assassin of Martin Luther King Jr., ended on this date in 1977 when he was captured in a Tennessee wilderness area after escaping from prison.

Alexander the Great died of fever in Babylon on this date in 323 B.C. He was only 33 but had conquered the known world. After his death, his empire fell apart.

Canada got its first woman prime minister on this date in 1993 when the Progressive Conservative Party elected Vancouver lawyer Kim Campbell to head the party, and thus the country. She succeeded Brian Mulroney.

An 81-day standoff in rural Montana by members of the anti-tax Freeman militia ended on this date in 1996 with their surrender. 10 days earlier, the FBI had cut off electricity to their ranch. In July 1998, four of the militia's leaders were convicted in federal court on charges of defrauding the government.

And it was on this date in 1983 that the robot spacecraft Pioneer-10 became the first man-made object to leave the solar system. It did so 11 years after it was launched.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is June 14.

This is Flag Day, commemorating the date in 1777 when John Adams introduced a resolution to the Continental Congress making the Stars and Stripes the official flag of the United States.

It was on this date in 1951 that Univac 1 -- the world's first commercial computer, designed for the U.S. Census Bureau -- was unveiled, demonstrated and dedicated in Philadelphia, Pa. While Univac 1 was the first COMMERCIAL computer, it had been preceded by ENIAC at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946.

The hijacking of TWA Flight 847 began on this date in 1985. Shiite Muslim gunmen commandeered the plane and its 153 passengers and crew en route from Athens to Rome. The ordeal ended 17 days later in Beirut, Lebanon -- where one of the hostages, a U.S. sailor, was killed. A made-for-TV movie was later filmed about the event.

And it was on this date in 1993 that President Clinton nominated federal Judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg to the U.S. Supreme Court. She succeeded retiring Justice Byron White, and became the second woman high court justice.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is June 15.

It's considered one of the most important documents in the history of political and human freedom. This is the date, in 1215, that -- under pressure from rebellious barons -- England's King John signed the Magna Carta. Well, he actually didn't sign it -- he affixed his seal to the charter, which was a crucial first step toward creating England's constitutional monarchy. Four original copies of the document survive.

Don't try this at home, kids! It was on this date in 1752 that Benjamin Franklin demonstrated the relationship between lightning and electricity by flying a kite during a thunderstorm in Philadelphia. It was a dangerous experiment -- the iron key suspended from the kite string attracted a bolt of lightning. Franklin got zapped, too, but survived.

In another scientific first: on this date i987, Richard Norton of Philadelphia and Calin Rosetti of West Germany completed the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth in a single-engine propeller aircraft, landing in Paris after a 38,000-mile flight.

And it was on this date in 1995 that defense attorney Johnnie Cochran uttered the famous line, "If the gloves don't fit, you must acquit." His client, murder defendant O.J. Simpson, tried on the bloodstained gloves allegedly worn by the killer of his ex-wife and her friend during that day's court proceedings. He seemed to have trouble putting on the gloves and remarked, "Too tight, too tight."

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is June 16.

The late 1950s and early '60s were not a good time for the U.S. space program, with the Soviets constantly beating the Americans to the punch. It was on this date in 1963 that the Soviet Union scored another first -- by putting the first woman into space, 26-year-old cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova. Her flight aboard Vostok 6 lasted about 70 hours. The United States wouldn't launch any female astronauts into orbit until 20 years later.

By the way, in Nov. 1963, Tereshkova married fellow cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev. Their daughter, born in 1964, was the first child born to space-traveling parents.

A few days ago, we mentioned the 1991 election of Boris Yeltsin in the first direct presidential elections in Russia. It was on this date in 1996 that Yeltsin won only 35 percent of the vote in the Russian presidential elections -- forcing a runoff.

The first Congress of Soviets was convened in Russia on this date in 1917.

And it was on this date in 1904 that James Joyce met his future wife, Nora, for the second time and fell in love. He later chose the date as the single-day setting for his novel, "Ulysses."

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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