On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. He was the heir apparent to the throne of Austria-Hungary — in other words, the next person in line to be king. According to most historians, Ferdinand's
assassination was one of the major causes of World War I. After Serbian Gavrilo Princip shot Ferdinand, Austria-Hungary declared war against Serbia, setting the war in motion.
Asteroid Day is observed every year on June 30, the anniversary of 1908's Tunguska Event, when a small near-Earth
asteroid flattened 80 million trees in Siberia. This international day of education and awareness began as a way to share information about these sun-orbiting space rocks.
Asteroid comes from a Greek root,
aster, or "star."
"when the air burst of a small near-Earth
asteroid" - sounds off
Astronaut and physicist Sally Ride became the first American woman in space on June 18, 1983. Ride was a member of the
Challenger space shuttle crew, part of a mission to test a satellite and deploy new ones. The following year, Ride returned to space for a second time. During the two missions, she spent a total of 343 hours outside Earth's atmosphere.
Astronaut has Greek roots meaning "star" and "sailor."
June 25, 1903 is the birthday of Eric Arthur Blair, who is best known by his pen name, George Orwell. He is the author of the dystopian classics
Animal Farm and
1984. The latter gave us the term
Big Brother, commonly used for an authoritarian ruler who watches individuals closely. You can also thank Orwell for
memory hole, and
prole — not to mention
Letter writers love the 1st of June, because it's National Pen Pal Day. This holiday was made for
correspondents who like to keep in touch with friends by sending notes back and forth in the mail. The word
correspondent comes from the medieval Latin
correspondentem, "reciprocate or harmonize."
demonstrations in Beijing, China's Tiananmen Square came to a violent end on June 4, 1989. Chinese troops shot at protesters who tried to block the military's advance into the square, killing hundreds — or possibly thousands — of the demonstrators. The event is referred to by China's government as the June Fourth Incident, and as the Tiananmen Square Massacre by much of the rest of the world.
Juneteenth goes by many names, including Freedom Day, Liberation Day, and
Emancipation Day. This holiday falls on June 19, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States and marking the day that the last enslaved people finally learned that they were free. In 1865, two years after the
Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved Americans in Galveston, Texas were liberated.
Emancipation has a root meaning "deliver from ownership."
June 14 is
Flag Day, commemorating the day in 1777 when the U.S. officially adopted the American
flag. The 13 red and white stripes represent the original 13 colonies that declared independence from Britain, and the stars — initially 13, and today 50 — symbolize the states. An act of Congress in 1949 established
Flag Day and, while not an official federal holiday, it's celebrated with parades and
flags displayed on homes, businesses, and government buildings.
Paul Bunyan, the larger-than-life lumberjack hero of North American
folklore, is honored every year on June 28. It's traditionally a day for telling tall tales about the mythological character and his sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox. Paul Bunyan started as the fictional subject of stories told aloud by loggers in the U.S. and Canada, most of them focusing on his superhuman abilities and extraordinary strength.
The U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in
Miranda v. Arizona on June 13, 1966. This landmark ruling states that criminal suspects have to be informed of their right to an attorney and against self-incrimination before a police
interrogation. If officers interrogate a suspect without first reading those rights, none of the information they gain can be used in court. A majority of the justices found that the Constitution's Fifth Amendment guarantees this right.
On June 6, 1944, the Allied
invasion of Normandy began, launching a nearly three month-long battle that led to the end of World War II. The Normandy landings, often referred to as D-Day, were part of the largest naval
invasion in history. Almost 1,600 Allied troops crossed the English Channel to land on five beaches in Normandy, France. The Latin root of
invasion means "enter violently."
The third Sunday of June is Father's Day, an occasion meant for celebrating
paternal love with your dad or father figure. Mother's Day was designated as a U.S. federal holiday in 1914, but it took dads 58 years to catch up! Father's Day became official in 1972, by order of President Richard Nixon.
Paternal shares a root with
father — the Latin
For more than 50 years, June has been recognized as
Pride Month. Worldwide events — including parades, political marches, and festivals — take place all month long in celebration of LGBTQ+ people.
Pride is observed in June as a commemoration of the Stonewall Riots on June 28, 1969.
Refugee Day was created in 2001 by the United Nations, and it continues to be observed annually on June 20. The day is an opportunity to celebrate the bravery of people who have fled danger in their home countries and rebuilt their lives in new places.
Refugee derives from the French
refugier, "to take shelter or protect."
solstice, which falls on June 20 or 21 in the Northern Hemisphere, is known as the longest day of the year. To be precise, the Earth's north pole is at its greatest tilt toward the sun on the
solstice, resulting in the maximum amount of daylight.
Solstice comes from the Latin
solstitium, "point at which the sun seems to stand still," from
sol, or "sun."