Deck of the USS Yorktown shortly after being hit by Japanese bombs during the Battle of Midway, northeast of the Midway Islands in the central Pacific, June 4, 1942.
2rd Class William G. Roy—U.S. Navy/NARA

JUNE 4-7, 1942

80-Year Anniversary of the Battle of Midway

Six months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Imperial Japanese Navy, attempted to destroy the remainder of the U.S. Pacific Fleet with a surprise attack at Midway Island. On June 7, the U.S. Navy under Admirals Chester W. Nimitz, Frank J. Fletcher and Raymond A. Spruance, successfully defeated the Japanese Navy using cryptanalysts who deciphered Japanese radio transmissions. The Navy’s victory and its successful defense of the major base located at Midway Island turned the tide of World War II in the Pacific. The U.S. lost 360 service members as well as the USS Yorktown and USS Hammann.

Assault landing, one of the first waves at Omaha. The Coast Guard caption identifies the unit as Company E, 16th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Center of Military History.

JUNE 6, 1944

Allies Invade Normandy, known as D-Day

On the morning of June 5, 1944, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, gave the go-ahead for the Operation Overlord. He told the troops, “You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe and security for ourselves in a free world.” More than 5,000 ships, 11,000 airplanes and over 150,000 servicemen landed on five beaches along a 50 mile stretch of  France’s Normandy region. It was and remains the largest amphibious assault in history and marked the beginning of one of the most decisive battles in World War II.

Great Hall Veteran Portrait Project photos, courtesy of Stacy Pearsall.

JUNE 12

Women Veterans Day

The first Women Veterans Day was held June 12, 2018, marking the 70th anniversary of the groundbreaking Women’s Armed Services Integration Act, signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on June 12, 1948.  We honor and recognize the more than 67,000 female Veterans in Ohio and more than 2 million female Veterans who have bravely served our nation. June 12 is currently a state-recognized commemoration in California, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army.

JUNE 14

U.S. Army 247th Birthday

From the Revolutionary War to conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, the Army is the oldest and largest branch of the U.S. Military. On June 14, 1775, the Second Continental Congress formed the Continental Army as a way for the 13 unified American colonies to fight against British forces. More than 30 million men and women have served since 1775 and today, the Army is made up of more than 700,000 soldiers.

Betsy Ross showing George Washington (left) and others how she made the U.S. flag, painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme.
Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

JUNE 14, 1777

U.S. National Flag Adopted

The Second Continental Congress passed a resolution stating, “The flag of the United States be 13 stripes, alternate red and white: that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation establishing June 14 as national Flag Day.

Juneteenth celebrations. Photo courtesy of The Portal to Texas History.

JUNE 19

Celebrate Juneteenth

On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger read federal orders in Galveston, Texas, that all previously enslaved people in Texas were free. Although the Emancipation Proclamation had formally freed them two years earlier, and the American Civil War had largely ended, Texas was the most remote of the slave states. Due to a low presence of Union troops, enforcement of the proclamation had been slow and inconsistent. Newly freed Black people celebrated, and Juneteenth was born. Juneteenth became an official U.S. holiday in 2021.

JUNE 20

American Eagle Day

On this day in 1782, the Second Continental Congress selected the bald eagle as our country’s national symbol. In 1940, Congress passed the Bald Eagle Protection Act prohibiting the selling, owning or killing of bald eagles. In spite of this protection, the bald eagle was listed as an endangered species by 1967, due mainly to the widespread use of D.D.T., a pesticide used to eradicate mosquitoes and other pests, passed on to eagles through the fish they ate. After strict conservation efforts, eagle populations are once again thriving. This special day honors our national symbol and helps create awareness of the eagle’s importance to our ecosystem and our national pride.

JUNE 21, 1788

U.S. Constitution Ratified

New Hampshire became the ninth and last necessary state to ratify the Constitution of the United States, thereby making the document the law of the land.

G.I. Bill signing by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Photo courtesy of the FDR Library.

JUNE 22, 1944

G.I. Bill signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The G.I. Bill or  Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 was an unprecedented act of legislation designed to compensate returning members of the armed services known as G.I.s, for their efforts in World War II. As part of the New Deal, Roosevelt’s administration created the G.I. Bill to avoid a relapse of the Great Depression. It transformed higher education in America by giving Veterans money for tuition, living expenses, books, supplies and equipment. By 1947, Veterans made up half of the nation’s college enrollment.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard.

JUNE 23

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 83rd Birthday

Established by Congress in 1939, the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary is Semper Paratus, “Always Ready.” The 26,000-volunteer member force donates more than 3.8 million hours in support of U.S. Coast Guard missions to promote safety on and over the high seas and the nation’s navigable waters.

A U.S. howitzer position near the Kum River, 15 July. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

JUNE 25, 1950

The Korean War Breaks Out

North Korea invaded South Korea beginning the war sometimes referred to as “ the Forgotten War.” This three-year conflict was the first military action of the Cold War. North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union while South Korean was supported by the United Nations, principally the United States. By July, American troops had entered the war to stem the tide of communism. The fighting ended with an armistice on July 27, 1953.

Berlin Airlift. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Air Force.

JUNE 26, 1948

The “Berlin Airlift” Begins

After World War II, the Allies split a defeated Germany into four zones: Soviet-occupied, American-occupied, British-occupied and French-occupied. In June 1948, the Soviet Union closed off all highways, railroads and canals from Western-occupied Berlin. In response, the U.S. and its Allies supplied residents with food, water, medicine and more from the air. Through “Operation Vittles” or the “Berlin Airlift,” more than 2.3 million tons of cargo were dropped into West Berlin for nearly a year.

Brig. Gen. Kristin K. French, commanding general, 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), congratulates Chief Warrant Officer Jeffrey Thompson, a systems technician with the 82nd Airborne Division, on completing his college degree during his deployment, May 23. French gave the opening remarks for the first ever Kandahar Airfield college graduation ceremony and handed out certificates to the graduates. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Gregory Williams)

JUNE 30, 2008

President George W. Bush Signs the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill

President Bush signed H.R. 2642 into law in an effort to pay for Veterans’ college expenses, just as the original G.I Bill did after World War II. The main provisions of the act include 100% funding of a public four-year undergraduate education to a Veteran who served three-years on active duty since September 11, 2001. The act also Veterans to transfer these benefits to a spouse or children after serving ten years.

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