Today in History

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Today is Tuesday, June 19, the 170th day of 2018. There are 195 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 19, 1953, Julius Rosenberg, 35, and his wife, Ethel, 37, convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviet Union, were executed at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, New York.

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On this date:

In 1775, George Washington was commissioned by the Continental Congress as commander in chief of the Continental Army.

In 1865, Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over, and that all remaining slaves in Texas were free — an event celebrated to this day as “Juneteenth.”

In 1867, Maximilian I, emperor of Mexico, was executed by firing squad a month after being taken prisoner by the forces of President Benito Juarez. The inaugural running of the Belmont Stakes took place; the winner was a filly named Ruthless.

In 1868, “Tales from the Vienna Woods,” a waltz by Johann Strauss “the Younger,” was first publicly performed by Strauss’ orchestra.

In 1917, during World War I, King George V ordered the British royal family to dispense with German titles and surnames; the family took the name “Windsor.”

In 1938, four dozen people were killed when a railroad bridge in Montana collapsed, sending a train known as the Olympian hurtling into Custer Creek.

In 1944, during World War II, the two-day Battle of the Philippine Sea began, resulting in a decisive victory for the Americans over the Japanese.

In 1952, the U.S. Army Special Forces, the elite unit of fighters known as the Green Berets, was established at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The celebrity-panel game show “I’ve Got A Secret” debuted on CBS-TV.

In 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved by the U.S. Senate, 73-27, after surviving a lengthy filibuster.

In 1978, the comic strip “Garfield,” created by Jim Davis, was first published in 41 newspapers. The Alicia Bridges single “I Love the Nightlife (Disco Round)” was released by Polydor Records.

In 1986, University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias, the first draft pick of the Boston Celtics, suffered a fatal cocaine-induced seizure. Artificial heart recipient Murray P. Haydon died in Louisville, Kentucky, after 16 months on the man-made pump.

In 1999, author Stephen King was seriously injured when he was struck by a van driven by Bryan Smith in North Lovell, Maine. Britain’s Prince Edward married commoner Sophie Rhys-Jones (rees johnz) in Windsor, England.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush surveyed the aftermath of devastating floods during a quick tour of the Midwest, assuring residents and rescuers alike that he was listening to their concerns and understood their exhaustion. Democrat Barack Obama announced he would bypass public financing for the presidential election, even though Republican John McCain was accepting it.

Five years ago: Afghan President Hamid Karzai (HAH’-mihd KAHR’-zeye) suspended talks with the United States on a new security deal to protest the way his government was left out of initial peace negotiations with the Taliban. President Barack Obama, speaking in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, pledged to cut deployed U.S. nuclear weapons by one-third if Cold War foe Russia did the same. Actor James Gandolfini, 51, died while vacationing in Rome. Country singer Slim Whitman, 90, died in Orange Park, Florida.

One year ago: Otto Warmbier (WARM’-beer), a 22-year-old American college student released by North Korea in a coma after more than a year in captivity, died in a Cincinnati hospital. A man drove a van into worshippers near a London mosque, killing one man and injuring a dozen others; a suspect was later sentenced to at least 43 years in prison.

Today’s Birthdays: Pop singer Tommy DeVito (The Four Seasons) is 90. Actress Gena (JEH’-nuh) Rowlands is 88. Hall of Fame race car driver Shirley Muldowney is 78. Singer Spanky McFarlane (Spanky and Our Gang) is 76. Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (soo chee) is 73. Author Sir Salman Rushdie is 71. Actress Phylicia Rashad is 70. Rock singer Ann Wilson (Heart) is 68. Musician Larry Dunn is 65. Actress Kathleen Turner is 64. Country singer Doug Stone is 62. Singer Mark DeBarge is 59. Singer-dancer-choreographer Paula Abdul is 56. Actor Andy Lauer is 55. Rock singer-musician Brian Vander Ark (Verve Pipe) is 54. Actor Samuel West is 52. Actress Mia Sara is 51. TV personality Lara Spencer is 49. Rock musician Brian “Head” Welch is 48. Actor Jean Dujardin is 46. Actress Robin Tunney is 46. Actor Bumper Robinson is 44. Actress Poppy Montgomery is 43. Alt-country singer-musician Scott Avett (AY’-veht) (The Avett Brothers) is 42. Actor Ryan Hurst is 42. Actress Zoe Saldana is 40. Actress Lauren Lee Smith is 38. Rapper Macklemore (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis) is 35. Actor Paul Dano is 34. Actor Giacomo Gianniotti is 29. Actor Chuku Modu (TV: “The Good Doctor”) is 28. Actor Atticus Shaffer is 20.