Today in History: Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, June 26, the 178th day of 2024. There are 188 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History: In 1948, the Berlin Airlift began in earnest after the Soviet Union cut off land and water routes to the isolated western sector of Berlin.
Also on this date:
In 1917, the first troops of the American Expeditionary Force deployed to France during World War I landed in St. Nazaire.
In 1925, Charles Chaplin’s classic comedy “The Gold Rush” premiered at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.
On June 26, 1945, the charter of the United Nations was signed by 50 countries in San Francisco.
In 1963, President John F. Kennedy visited West Berlin, where he delivered his famous speech expressing solidarity with the city’s residents, declaring: “Ich bin ein Berliner” (“I am a Berliner”).
In 1977, 42 people were killed when a fire sent toxic smoke pouring through the Maury County Jail in Columbia, Tennessee. Elvis Presley performed his last concert at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis.
In 1990, President George H.W. Bush went back on his “no-new-taxes” campaign pledge, conceding that tax increases would have to be included in any deficit-reduction package worked out with congressional negotiators.
In 1993, President Bill Clinton announced the U.S. had launched missiles against Iraqi targets because of “compelling evidence” Iraq had plotted to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush.
In 1996, the Supreme Court ordered the Virginia Military Institute to admit women or forgo state support.
In 1997, the first Harry Potter novel, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling, was published in the United Kingdom (it was later released in the United States under the title “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”).
In 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a handgun ban in the District of Columbia as it affirmed, 5-4, that an individual right to gun ownership existed.
In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court gave the nation’s legally married gay couples equal federal footing with all other married Americans and also cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.
In 2020, after protesters in Washington, D.C., attempted to pull down a statue of Andrew Jackson, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to protect monuments, memorials and statues.
In 2022, U.S. Navy destroyer that engaged a superior Japanese fleet in the largest sea battle of World War II in the Philippines became the deepest wreck ever discovered, according to explorers.
Today’s Birthdays: Jazz musician-film composer Dave Grusin is 90. Singer Billy Davis Jr. is 86. Brazilian singer-songwriter and politician Gilberto Gil is 82. R&B singer Brenda Holloway is 78. Actor Robert Davi is 73. Singer-musician Mick Jones (The Clash, Big Audio Dynamite) is 69. Actor Gedde Watanabe (GEH’-dee wah-tah-NAH’-bee) is 69. Rock singer Chris Isaak is 68. Rock singer Patty Smyth (Scandal) is 67. Singer Terri Nunn (Berlin) is 63. Cyclist Greg LeMond is 63. Rock musician Colin Greenwood (Radiohead) is 55. Writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson is 54. Actor Sean Hayes is 54. Actor Chris O’Donnell is 54. Actor Nick Offerman is 54. Baseball Hall of Famer Derek Jeter is 50. Country singer Gretchen Wilson is 51. Pop-rock singer-musician Ryan Tedder (OneRepublic) is 45. Actor Jason Schwartzman is 44. Actor Aubrey Plaza is 40. Author-actor Jennette McCurdy is 32. Actor-singer Ariana Grande is 31. Actor Jacob Elordi is 27.