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A Busy Day in History

June 13 was indeed a busy day in history.

On this date in 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in the American colonies to help the colonists in their fight for independence from England.

In a precursor to the later Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate troops who were on their way to Pennsylvania clashed with Union forces in the Second Battle of Winchester. They came away victorious.

In 1912, pitcher Christy Mathewson (left), a Christian who refused to play ball for money on the Lord’s Day and is credited with helping to clean up the then ill-reputed game of baseball, won his 300th game.

In 1943, eight German spies launched Operation Pastorius, an effort to commit sabotage within the United States, attacking economic targets, such as electric plants, water facilities, and railroad shops, and launching terrorist attacks against civilian targets. The submarine U-202 landed some of the spies about 115 miles east of New York City on Long Island, and U-584 landed more three days later at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, near Jacksonville. All of the eight spies had lived at one time in the United States, and two of them were actually American citizens.

But an unarmed Coast Guardsman, John Cullen, discovered one of the Long Island spies, George John Dasch (left), on the beach. Dasch grabbed Cullen and shoved $260 into his hand in an effort to buy his silence, but the loyal Cullen reported the incident to his superiors anyway. By the time a search was begun, however, the spies were gone.

Dasch, dismayed at being discovered, concluded that the gig was up and the operation was doomed to failure anyway, so he decided to turn himself in and seek asylum. He convinced another of the spies to join him, and they reported to the FBI. The authorities, however, thought that he was just a crank and didn’t believe him–until he dumped the spies’ $84,000 operations money onto the FBI agent’s desk. Within two weeks, the other six spies had been apprehended before they could do any harm.

In 1948, the great Babe Ruth (left) uttered his final farewell at Yankee Stadium. He died two months later on August 16.

And in 1966, the Supreme Court issued its now-famous Miranda decision, mandating that arresting officers inform the accused of his or her rights. This ruling made famous one of the most frequently uttered phrases on television: “You have the right to remain silent. . . .” (The longest word uttered is the one that follows the words “And now a word from our sponsor.”)

And that’s how it was on June 13 so many years ago.

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