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What Happened on June 26?

  • U.S. President Kennedy declared, "Ich bin ein Berliner." (1963) President Kennedy was declaring solidarity with the people of Berlin, in front of the wall that separated the two sides of the city. He intended to say that he, too, was a citizen of Berlin. Humorously, the word Berliner in German translates into English as "doughnut."

  • The first helicopter took flight. (1936) The Focke-Wulf Fw 61 was a research helicopter built by Focke Achgelis and used by Nazi Germany.

  • Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States. (1870) The Christian holiday has a long, varied history. The Scandinavians have called the celebration "Jul," or "Yule", since 900 A.D.

  • The United State Supreme Court ruled that bans on gay sex were unconstitutional. (2003) In a 6-3 decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the court ruled that the state's sodomy laws were unconstitutional. The Lawrence decision overturned the Court's 1986 decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, in which the Court ruled that sexual privacy was not protected by the constitution.

  • The U.S. Supreme Court forced the Virginia Military Institute to admit women. (1996) In United States v. Virginia the Court held that public funding meant the school couldn't exclude applicants based on gender. All other U.S. military schools had already begun admitting women.

  • The Pied Piper led 130 children from Hamelin, Germany. (1284) The story has become mostly fairy tale, but the original references indicate a piper in multi-colored clothing took the town's children and they were never seen again. Some surmise the story might be an allegory for the children's death by plague or other event.

  • New York's Cyclone roller coaster opened. (1927) The roller coaster opened on Coney Island and continues to operate today. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991 and was made an historic New York City landmark in 1988.

  • The world's tallest free-standing structure opened for tourists. (1976) The CN Tower in Toronto, Canada, was the world's tallest structure at the time, at 1,815 feet (553 meters). It now is third, behind an observation tower in China and the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in the United Arab Emirates.

  • The United Nations charter was signed in San Francisco, California. (1945) 50 of the 51 original signing countries signed the charter. Poland wasn't present, but signed it later. The United Nations now has 192 member countries.

  • U.S. President Bill Clinton launched missiles at the Baghdad intelligence headquarters. (1993) President Clinton issued the launch as retaliation against an assassination attempt on President George H.W. Bush. In January 1993, missiles were also launched by the U.S., France and Britain against some Iraqi missile sites.

  • The U.S. Federal Highway Act was approved. (1956) The U.S. Congress approved the act, also known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, which earmarked $25 billion US Dollars to construct 41,000 miles (66,000 km) of U.S. highways. The act was signed into law three days later on June 29 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt established credit unions. (1934) The Federal Credit Union Act established nonprofit lending institutions.

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