Today in History

Today is Wednesday, June 26, the 177th day of 2013. There are 188 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 26, 1963, President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin, where he delivered his famous speech expressing solidarity with the city’s residents, declaring: “Ich bin ein Berliner” (I am a Berliner).

On this date:

In 1483, Richard III began his reign as King of England (he was crowned the following month at Westminster Abbey).

In 1870, the first section of Atlantic City, N.J.’s Boardwalk was opened to the public.

In 1915, following a whirlwind courtship, poet T.S. Eliot married Vivienne Haigh-Wood in London. (The marriage proved disastrous, but the couple never divorced.)

In 1925, Charlie Chaplin’s classic comedy “The Gold Rush” premiered at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for a second term of office by delegates to the Democratic national convention in Philadelphia.

In 1945, the charter of the United Nations was signed by 50 countries in San Francisco.

In 1948, the Berlin Airlift began in earnest after the Soviet Union cut off land and water routes to the isolated western sector of Berlin.

In 1950, President Harry S. Truman authorized the Air Force and Navy to enter the Korean conflict.

In 1973, former White House counsel John W. Dean told the Senate Watergate Committee about an “enemies list” kept by the Nixon White House.

In 1988, three people were killed when a new Airbus A320 jetliner carrying more than 130 people crashed into a forest during a demonstration at an air show in Mulhouse (muh-LOOZ’), France.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush went back on his “no-new-taxes” campaign pledge, conceding that tax increases would have to be included in any deficit-reduction package worked out with congressional negotiators.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton announced the U.S. had launched missiles against Iraqi targets because of “compelling evidence” Iraq had plotted to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Roy Campanella died in Woodland Hills, Calif., at age 71.

Ten years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Lawrence v. Texas, struck down, 6-3, state bans on gay sex. A jury in Fort Worth, Texas, convicted former nurse’s aide Chante Mallard (SHAHN’-tay MAL’-urd) of murder for hitting a homeless man, Gregory Biggs, with her car, driving home with his mangled body lodged in the windshield and leaving him to die in her garage. (Mallard was later sentenced to 50 years in prison.) Former South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond died in Edgefield, S.C., at age 100. Sir Denis Thatcher, husband of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, died in London at age 88.

Five years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia as it affirmed, 5-4, that an individual right to gun ownership existed. Juan Alvarez, who triggered a 2005 rail disaster in Glendale, Calif., by parking a sport-utility vehicle on the tracks, was convicted of 11 counts of first-degree murder. (Alvarez was later sentenced to 11 consecutive life terms.)

One year ago: Sen. Orrin Hatch won the GOP primary in Utah, handily turning back a challenge from tea party-backed Dan Liljenquist (lihl-IHN’-kwihst). In Oklahoma, five-term Rep. John Sullivan fell to a tea party-supported candidate, Jim Bridenstine, who went on to win election to Congress. Twelve-time All-Star Joe Sakic was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, joining Mats Sundin, Pavel Bure and Adam Oates as the newest class of inductees. Essayist, author and filmmaker Nora Ephron, 71, died in New York.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Eleanor Parker is 91. Jazz musician-film composer Dave Grusin is 79. Actor Josef Sommer is 79. Singer Billy Davis Jr. is 73. Rock singer Georgie Fame is 70. Actor Clive Francis is 67. Rhythm-and-blues singer Brenda Holloway is 67. Actor Michael Paul Chan is 63. Actor Robert Davi is 62. Singer-musician Mick Jones is 58. Actor Gedde Watanabe (GEH’-dee wah-tah-NAH’-bee) is 58. Rock singer Chris Isaak is 57. Rock singer Patty Smyth is 56. Singer Terri Nunn (Berlin) is 52. Rock singer Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays) is 50. Country musician Eddie Perez (The Mavericks) is 45. Rock musician Colin Greenwood (Radiohead) is 44. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson is 43. Actor Sean Hayes is 43. Actor Matt Letscher is 43. Actor Chris O’Donnell is 43. Actor Nick Offerman is 43. Actress Rebecca Budig is 40. MLB All-Star player Derek Jeter is 39. Contemporary Christian musician Jeff Frankenstein (Newsboys) is 39. Country singer Gretchen Wilson is 39. Rock musician Nathan Followill (Kings of Leon) is 34. Pop-rock singer-musician Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) is 34. Actor-musician Jason Schwartzman is 33. Actress Aubrey Plaza is 29. Actress-singer Jennette McCurdy is 21.

Thought for Today: “I am continually fascinated at the difficulty intelligent people have in distinguishing what is controversial from what is merely offensive.” — Nora Ephron (1941-2012).

(Above Advance for Use Wednesday, June 26)

Copyright 2013, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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