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Today in History

Today is Sunday, June 20, the 171st day of 2021. There are 194 days left in the year. This is Father’s Day. Summer begins at 11:32 p.m. EDT.

Birthdays: Actor Bonnie Bartlett is 92. Actor James Tolkan is 90. Movie director Stephen Frears is 80. Singer-songwriter Brian Wilson is 79. Actor John McCook is 77. Singer Anne Murray is 76. TV personality Bob Vila is 75. Musician Andre Watts is 75. Actor Candy Clark is 74. Producer Tina Sinatra is 73. R&B singer Lionel Richie is 72. Actor John Goodman is 69. Rock musician Michael Anthony is 67. Pop musician John Taylor is 61. Rock musician Mark degli Antoni is 59. Christian rock musician Jerome Fontamillas (Switchfoot) is 54. Actor Nicole Kidman is 54. Country/bluegrass singer-musician Dan Tyminski is 54. Movie director Robert Rodriguez is 53. Actor Peter Paige is 52. Actor Josh Lucas is 50. Rock musician Jeordie White (AKA Twiggy Ramirez) is 50. Country-folk singer-songwriter Amos Lee is 44. Rock singer Grace Potter (Grace Potter & the Nocturnals) is 38.

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In 1782, Congress approved the Great Seal of the United States, featuring the emblem of the bald eagle.

In 1791, King Louis XVI of France and his family attempted to flee in the so-called “Flight to Varennes,” but were caught.

In 1837, Queen Victoria acceded to the British throne following the death of her uncle, King William IV.

In 1893, a jury in New Bedford, Mass., found Lizzie Borden not guilty of the ax murders of her father and stepmother.

In 1921, US Representative Alice Mary Robertson, Republican of Oklahoma, became the first woman to preside over a session of the House of Representatives.

In 1943, race-related rioting erupted in Detroit; federal troops were sent in two days later to quell the violence that resulted in more than 30 deaths.

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In 1944, during World War II, Japanese naval forces retreated in the Battle of the Philippine Sea after suffering heavy losses to the victorious American fleet.

In 1947, President Harry S. Truman vetoed the Taft-Hartley Act, which was designed to restrict the power of labor unions, but had his veto overriden by Congress. Gangster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was shot dead at the Beverly Hills, Calif., home of his girlfriend, Virginia Hill, apparently at the order of mob associates.

In 1967, boxer Muhammad Ali was convicted in Houston of violating Selective Service laws by refusing to be drafted and was sentenced to five years in prison. (Ali’s conviction was ultimately overturned by the US Supreme Court).

In 1972, three days after the arrest of the Watergate burglars, President Richard Nixon met at the White House with his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman; the secretly made tape recording of this meeting ended up with the notorious 18 ½-minute gap.

In 1990, South African Black nationalist Nelson Mandela and his wife, Winnie, arrived in New York City for a ticker-tape parade in their honor as they began an eight-city US tour.

In 2011, Syrian President Bashar Assad promised a national dialogue to consider political reforms, but his vague overtures to a prodemocracy uprising fell flat as protesters took to the streets shouting “Liar!” and demanding his ouster. “Jackass” star Ryan Dunn was killed in a fiery car crash near Philadelphia; he was 34. The erotic novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James was published by Vintage Books.

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In 2014, the Obama administration granted an array of new benefits to same-sex couples, including those living in states where gay marriage was against the law; the new measures ranged from Social Security and veterans benefits to work leave for caring for sick spouses.

In 2016, Donald Trump abruptly fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in a dramatic shake-up designed to calm panicked Republican leaders and end an internal power struggle plaguing Trump’s White House bid. A divided US Supreme Court bolstered police powers, ruling 5-3 that evidence of a crime in some cases may be used against a defendant even if the police did something wrong or illegal in obtaining it.

In 2019, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down a US surveillance drone in the Strait of Hormuz; it was the first time the Islamic Republic had directly attacked the US military amid tensions over the unraveling nuclear deal. A US official said preparations had been made for a military strike against Iran in retaliation for the downing of the drone, but that the operation was called off with just hours to go.

In 2020, at a rally in Tulsa, Okla., President Donald Trump defined the election as a choice between national heritage and left-wing radicalism; there were thousands of empty seats at the rally, believed to be the largest indoor event in the nation since the start of the pandemic. (Most attendees bucked the guidance of health care experts and did not wear a mask.) Six staffers helping to set up the Trump event tested positive for the coronavirus. A federal judge ruled that former national security adviser John Bolton could move forward with his tell-all book, despite efforts by the Trump administration to block the release. A standoff between the Justice Department and Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman ended when the prosecutor agreed to leave his job with an assurance that his investigations into allies of President Donald Trump would not be disturbed. In front of an empty grandstand, Tiz the Law won the Belmont Stakes in New York; the race normally marks the end of the Triple Crown series, but all three races were postponed due to the pandemic and the Belmont was run first.

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