Almanac

Today is Tuesday, June 24, the 175th day of 2014. There are 190 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 24, 1964, AT&T inaugurated commercial “Picturephone” service between New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., as Lady Bird Johnson, wife of the president, called Dr. Elizabeth A. Wood of Bell Laboratories in New York. (Requiring the use of video booths, with a 3-minute call from Washington to New York costing $16, and a $27 charge for a 3-minute call between New York and Chicago, Picturephone never caught on.)

On this date:

In 1314, the forces of Scotland’s Robert the Bruce defeated the English in the Battle of Bannockburn. In 1509, Henry VIII was crowned king of England; his wife, Catherine of Aragon, was crowned queen consort.

In 1793, the first republican constitution in France was adopted.

In 1880, “O Canada,” the future Canadian national anthem, was first performed in Quebec City.

In 1908, the 22nd and 24th presidents of the United States, Grover Cleveland, died in Princeton, New Jersey, at age 71.

In 1939, the Southeast Asian country Siam changed its name to Thailand. (It went back to being Siam in 1945, then became Thailand once again in 1949.)

In 1940, France signed an armistice with Italy during World War II.

In 1948, Communist forces cut off all land and water routes between West Germany and West Berlin, prompting the western allies to organize the Berlin Airlift.

In 1968, “Resurrection City,” a shantytown constructed as part of the Poor People’s March on Washington D.C., was closed down by authorities.

In 1975, 113 people were killed when an Eastern Airlines Boeing 727 crashed while attempting to land during a thunderstorm at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

In 1983, the space shuttle Challenger – carrying America’s first woman in space, Sally K. Ride – coasted to a safe landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Thought for Today: “Move, and the way will open.” – Zen saying.