This Day in History

Posted: Friday, June 17, 2005

In Alaska

• In 1953, the military port of Whittier was virtually destroyed by a $20 million fire.

• In 1959, voters in Spenard and parts of Mountain View voted for annexation by the city of Anchorage.

• In 1964, voters in the proposed Chilkat Borough in the Haines area defeated incorporation overwhelmingly, 154-22.

• In 1964, a dead whale was found near Sitka carrying a Russian made radio-harpoon. A spokesman for the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries said there was no cause for alarm, as the device was undoubtedly a new type of gear used by the Russian whaling fleet.

• In 1974, Gov. William Egan sent a telegram to Secretary of State Henry Kissenger protesting the latest incident of fisheries treaty violations by a Japanese gillnet vessel that was sighted illegally salmon fishing.

In the nation

• In 1775, the Revolutionary War Battle of Bunker Hill took place near Boston. The battle, which actually occurred on Breed's Hill, was a costly victory for the British, who suffered heavy losses while dislodging the rebels.

• In 1856, in Philadelphia, the Republican Party opened its first convention.

• In 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York City aboard the French ship Isere.

• In 1948, a United Air Lines DC-6 crashed near Mount Carmel, Pa., killing all 43 people on board.

• In 1963, the Supreme Court struck down rules requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools.

• In 1969, the raunchy musical review "Oh! Calcutta!" opened in New York.

• In 1972, President Nixon's eventual downfall began with the arrest of five burglars inside Democratic national headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate complex.

• In 1992, President Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed a breakthrough arms-reduction agreement.

• In 2004, a bipartisan report found that officials, blindsided by terrorists and beset by poor communications, were so slow to react on Sept. 11, 2001, that the last of four hijacked planes had crashed by the time Vice President Dick Cheney ordered hostile aircraft shot down. President Bush disputed the Sept. 11 commission's finding that Saddam Hussein had no strong ties to al-Qaida, saying the former Iraqi leader had had "numerous contacts" with the terrorist network.

In the world

• In 1928, Amelia Earhart embarked on a trans-Atlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales - the first by a woman.

• In 1940, France asked Germany for terms of surrender in World War II.

• In 1944, the republic of Iceland was established.

• In 1995, Russian commandos stormed a hospital where Chechen rebels were holding more than 1,000 hostages, but the Chechens beat the Russians back.

• In 2000, in Cuba, more than 300,000 people turned out to protest the continued stay of Elian Gonzalez in the United States; it was the largest such demonstration since the previous December, when Cuba launched a national campaign of mass gatherings demanding the boy's return.

• In 2004, a sport-utility vehicle packed with artillery shells slammed into a crowd waiting to volunteer for the Iraqi military, killing 35 people and wounding 138.

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