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Last updated 6/14/2022 at 3:18pm | View PDF

The History Channel

* On June 15, 1904, more than 1,000 people taking a pleasure trip on New York City’s East River are drowned or burned to death when fire sweeps through the riverboat-style steamer General Slocum.

* On June 16, 1961, Rudolf Nureyev, the young star of the Soviet Union’s Kirov Opera Ballet Company, defects during a stopover in Paris. While preparing to board the return flight, Nureyev threw himself into the arms of airport security people, screaming, “Protect me!” He was given political asylum.

* On June 17, 1885, the dismantled Statue of Liberty, a gift from France, arrives in New York Harbor after being shipped across the Atlantic Ocean in 350 individual pieces packed in more than 200 cases. The copper and iron statue was reassembled and dedicated the following year.

* On June 18, 1983, Dr. Sally K. Ride becomes the first American woman in space when the shuttle Challenger is launched on its second mission. Ride, as a mission specialist, was the first woman to operate the shuttle’s mechanical arm used to remove ice from its exterior.

* On June 19, 1856, the first national convention of the Republican Party comes to its conclusion. After the Civil War, the Republican-dominated Congress forced a radical Reconstruction policy on the South, which saw the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments to the Constitution.

* On June 20, 1782, Congress adopts the Great Seal of the United States after six years of discussion. The seal depicts a bald eagle clutching an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left. On its breast appears a shield marked with 13 vertical red and white stripes topped by a bar of blue. The eagle’s beak clutches a banner inscribed, E pluribus unum, a Latin phrase meaning “Out of Many One.”

* On June 21, 1916, the controversial U.S. military expedition against Mexican revolutionary Pancho Villa brings the U.S. and Mexico close to war when Mexican troops attack U.S. Gen. John J. Pershing’s force at Carrizal, Mexico. The Americans suffered 22 casualties, and more than 30 Mexicans were killed.

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