Today in History

Today is Wednesday, June 2, the 153rd day of 2021. There are 212 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 2, 1979, Pope John Paul II arrived in his native Poland on the first visit by a pope to a Communist country.

On this date:

In 1897, Mark Twain was quoted by the New York Journal as saying from London that “the report of my death was an exaggeration.” (Twain was responding to a report in the New York Herald that he was “grievously ill” and “possibly dying.”)

In 1924, Congress passed, and President Calvin Coolidge signed, a measure guaranteeing full American citizenship for all Native Americans born within U.S. territorial limits.

In 1941, baseball’s “Iron Horse,” Lou Gehrig, died in New York of a degenerative disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; he was 37.

In 1953, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II took place in London’s Westminster Abbey, 16 months after the death of her father, King George VI.

In 1962, Soviet forces opened fire on striking workers in the Russian city of Novocherkassk; a retired general in 1989 put the death toll at 22 to 24.

In 1966, U.S. space probe Surveyor 1 landed on the moon and began transmitting detailed photographs of the lunar surface.

In 1987, President Ronald Reagan announced he was nominating economist Alan Greenspan to succeed Paul Volcker as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.

In 1995, a U.S. Air Force F-16C was shot down by a Bosnian Serb surface-to-air missile while on a NATO air patrol in northern Bosnia; the pilot, Capt. Scott F. O’Grady, was rescued by U.S. Marines six days later.

In 1997, Timothy McVeigh was convicted of murder and conspiracy in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people. (McVeigh was executed in June 2001.)

In 1999, South Africans went to the polls in their second post-apartheid election, giving the African National Congress a decisive victory; retiring president Nelson Mandela was succeeded by Thabo Mbeki (TAH’-boh um-BEH’-kee).

In 2008, Bo Diddley, 79, a founding father of rock ‘n’ roll, died in Archer, Florida, at age 79.

In 2009, Scott Roeder (ROH’-dur), an anti-abortion activist, was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of late-term abortion provider Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kansas. (Roeder was later convicted and sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 50 years.)

Ten years ago: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney announced his bid for the Republican presidential nomination during an appearance in New Hampshire. A judge in Placerville, California, sentenced serial sex offender Phillip Garrido to life in prison for kidnapping and raping Jaycee Dugard; Garrido’s wife, Nancy, received a decades-long sentence.

Five years ago: House Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed Donald Trump’s bid for president, telling The Associated Press his goal was to make sure the GOP was “at full strength in the fall.” President Barack Obama, speaking at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, implored the next generation of U.S. military leaders not to give in to isolationism or pull back from U.S. leadership in the world, drawing a contrast with a foreign policy vision laid out by Donald Trump. Autopsy results showed superstar musician Prince died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller.

One year ago: Defying curfews, protesters streamed back into the nation’s streets, hours after President Donald Trump urged governors to put down the violence set off by the death of George Floyd. Police said four officers were hit by gunfire after protests in St. Louis that began peacefully became violent. The bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington sharply criticized Trump for staging a visit to St. John’s Church across from the White House after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters. Mayors and governors from both parties rejected Trump’s threat to use the military against protesters. Outrage over George Floyd’s death spread around the world; tear gas choked Paris as riot police faced off with protesters setting fires. Six Atlanta police officers were charged after video showed police pulling two young people from a car and shooting them with stun guns. Trump said he was seeking a new state to host the Republican National Convention after North Carolina refused to guarantee that the event could be held in Charlotte without coronavirus restrictions. (Delegates would meet in Charlotte to nominate Trump for reelection, but he delivered his acceptance speech from the White House lawn.) Nine states and the District of Columbia voted in the largest slate of presidential primaries in almost three months; the vote count would confirm that Joe Biden had clinched the Democratic nomination. Basketball Hall of Famer Wes Unseld died at 74.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor-singer Sally Kellerman is 84. Actor Ron Ely (EE’-lee) is 83. Filmmaker and movie historian Kevin Brownlow is 83. Actor Stacy Keach is 80. Rock musician Charlie Watts is 80. Actor Charles Haid is 78. R&B singer Chubby Tavares (Tavares) is 77. Movie director Lasse (LAH’-suh) Hallstrom is 75. Actor Jerry Mathers is 73. Actor Joanna Gleason is 71. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is 69. Actor Dennis Haysbert is 67. Comedian Dana Carvey is 66. Actor Gary Grimes is 66. Pop musician Michael Steele is 66. Rock singer Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet) is 61. Actor Liam Cunningham is 60. Actor Navid Negahban is 57. Singer Merril Bainbridge is 53. TV personality-producer Andy Cohen (“The Real Housewives” TV franchise) is 53. Rapper B-Real (Cypress Hill) is 51. Actor Paula Cale is 51. Actor Anthony Montgomery is 50. Actor-comedian Wayne Brady is 49. Actor Wentworth Miller is 49. Rock musician Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane) is 45. Actor Zachary Quinto is 44. Actor Dominic Cooper is 43. Actor Nikki Cox is 43. Actor Justin Long is 43. Actor Deon Richmond is 43. Actor Morena Baccarin is 42. R&B singer Irish Grinstead (702) is 41. Rock musician Fabrizio Moretti (The Strokes) is 41. Olympic gold medal soccer player Abby Wambach is 41. Singer-songwriter ZZ Ward is 35. Rapper/actor Awkwafina is 33. Actor Brittany Curran is 31. Actor Sterling Beaumon is 26.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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