On this Day June 11

History Highlights

1944 – Lieutenant John F. Kennedy receives one of the Navy’s highest honor for gallantry for his heroic actions as a gunboat pilot during World War II. The future U.S. president also receives a Purple Heart for wounds sustained in battle.

1955 – Carnage at Le Mans, as an Austin-Healey and Mercedes-Benz collide, showering flaming wreckage onto spectators. Eighty-two people are killed and at least 100 injured in one of auto racing’s worst accidents.

1962 – Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin become the only prisoners to successfully escape from Alcatraz prison. No one ever saw or heard from them again, although there were multiple unconfirmed sightings over the years.

1967 – The Six-Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbors ends with a United Nations-brokered ceasefire. That November, the U.N. Security Council adopts a resolution establishing a formula for Arab-Israeli peace whereby Israel would withdraw from territories occupied in the war in exchange for peace with its neighbors.

1963 – An outspoken opponent of school desegregation, Alabama Governor George Wallace physically blocks two African American students from entering the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. President John F. Kennedy responds by federalizing the Alabama National Guard and ordering troops to escort the students to their classes. Wallace then steps aside, but that evening, Kennedy delivers a national address about segregation regarded by many historians as one of the turning points in the civil rights movement.

1977 – MLK assassin James Earl Ray escapes from Brushy Mountain State Prison in Tennessee, but is recaptured three days later.

1979 – Cancer claims the life of screen legend John Wayne (“El Dorado,” “Rio Bravo,” “True Grit,” “The Comancheros”) at the age of 72.

1982 –  Steven Spielberg’s “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” opens in U.S. theaters and becomes a box office bonanza. The movie launches the career of actress Drew Barrymore, and in 1994, is selected for preservation in the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” 

1986 – “Bueller… Bueller…” The now-classic John Hughes film, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck and Mia Sara, opens in U.S. theaters.

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Elv1s 30 #1 Hits

Elvis Presley

The Dark Side of the Moon

Pink Floyd

Kennedy and King: The President, the Pastor, and the Battle over Civil Rights

Steven E. Levingston

True Grit

Starring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby, and directed by Henry Hathaway

Young Frankenstein

Starring Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman Cloris Leachman, Teri Garr and Madeline Kahn, and directed by Mel Brooks

House

Starring Hugh Laurie, Omar Epps, Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer