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Today in history: June 21

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, June 21, the 172nd day of 2006. There are 193 days left in the year. Summer begins at 8:26 a.m. ET.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On June 21, 1788, the U.S. Constitution went into effect as New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify it.

On this date:
In 1834, Cyrus Hall McCormick received a patent for his reaping machine.

In 1905, French philosopher, author and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris.

In 1932, heavyweight Max Schmeling lost a title fight by decision to Jack Sharkey, prompting Schmeling’s manager, Joe Jacobs, to exclaim: “We was robbed!”

In 1945, during World War II, American soldiers on Okinawa found the body of the Japanese commander, Lt. Gen. Mitsuru Ushijima, who had committed suicide.

In 1963, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini was chosen to succeed the late Pope John XXIII; the new pope took the name Paul VI.

In 1964, civil rights workers Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James E. Chaney disappeared in Philadelphia, Miss.; their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam six weeks later.

In 1973, the Supreme Court ruled that states may ban materials found to be obscene according to local standards.

In 1982, a jury in Washington, D.C., found John Hinckley Jr. innocent by reason of insanity in the shootings of President Reagan and three other men.

In 1985, scientists announced that skeletal remains exhumed in Brazil were those of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.

In 2004, the SpaceShipOne rocket plane punched through Earth’s atmosphere, then glided to a landing in California’s Mojave Desert in the first privately financed manned spaceflight.

Ten years ago: European leaders agreed to gradually lift a global ban on British beef exports imposed nearly three months earlier following a scare over “mad cow” disease. Pentagon officials said American troops destroyed an Iraqi ammunition depot in March 1991 that may have contained chemical weapons.

Five years ago: A federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., indicted 13 Saudis and a Lebanese in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia that killed 19 American servicemen. The first total solar eclipse of the new millennium swept across southern Africa. Death claimed actor Carroll O’Connor at age 76 and blues musician John Lee Hooker at age 80.

One year ago: Forty-one years to the day after three civil rights workers were beaten and shot to death, Edgar Ray Killen, an 80-year-old former Ku Klux Klansman, was found guilty of manslaughter. President Bush met with Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, the highest ranking Vietnamese official to visit the White House since the end of the war. George Hawi, an anti-Syrian politician, was killed in Beirut by a bomb placed under his car seat. Cardinal Jaime Sin, one of Asia’s top religious leaders, died at age 76.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Jane Russell is 85. Actor Bernie Kopell is 73. Actor Monte Markham is 71. Actor Ron Ely is 68. Actress Mariette Hartley is 66. Comedian Joe Flaherty is 65. Rock singer-musician Ray Davies (The Kinks) is 62. Singer Brenda Holloway is 60. Actress Meredith Baxter is 59. Actor Michael Gross is 59. Rock musician Joe Molland (Badfinger) is 59. Rock musician Don Airey (Deep Purple) is 58. Country singer Leon Everette is 58. Rock musician Joey Kramer (Aerosmith) is 56. Rock musician Nils Lofgren is 55. Actress Robyn Douglass is 53. Actor Leigh McCloskey is 51. Cartoonist Berke Breathed is 49. Country singer Kathy Mattea is 47. Actor Marc Copage is 44. Actress Sammi Davis is 42. Actor Doug Savant is 42. Country musician Porter Howell is 42. Actor Michael Dolan is 41. Writer-director Larry Wachowski (“The Matrix”) is 41. Country singer Allison Moorer is 34. Actress Juliette Lewis is 33. Musician Justin Cary is 31. Rock musician Mike Einziger (Incubus) is 30. Britain’s Prince William of Wales is 24.

Thought for Today: “It is only on paper that one moralizes — just where one shouldn’t.” — Richard Le Gallienne, English poet and essayist (1866-1947).