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This Week in History | 6/14/2020 – 6/19/2020

14 June 1775 – The Second Continental Congress establishes the US Army as a unified force to fight the British with George Washington being appointed as its commander. Ten companies were authorized. Many of the men who would make up these ranks had experience either in the British Army or in militias, and they would bring many British traditions with them. It was not till later in the war, with French aid, that the new army would come into its own as a competent force. 

14 June 1954 – The Civil Defense Agency organizes and evaluates a drill in which the US is faced with a massive nuclear attack. Across 54 American cities alarms were sounded and civilians were expected to follow procedures to seek proper shelter during the 10 minute drill. By the end of it, 12 MILLION Americans were estimated to have “died”. Surprisingly, government officials apart of the test were pleased with the results…..

15 June 1944 – 68 B-29 Superfortress bombers conducted the first bombings of the Japanese islands since 1942. The planes were launched from Chengdu, and targeted the city of Yawata. They did not have much success, as only one bomb actually hit its target. One B-29 was shot down from anti-aircraft fire. The massive fuel requirements of the Superfortress would drain the airbases they launched from, nearly halting further operations. Over the next year only around a dozen raids would be launched from these bases. After the Mariana Islands were captured they, would be moved there. This would decrease the overall range the bombers would have to fly, increasing their effectiveness and number of missions. 

19 June 1865 – Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day. All alternate names for the unofficial holiday Juneteenth. This day is remembered as the day slaves finally heard that they were free in Texas. In Galveston, General Granger would read the Federal orders ending slavery. Due to the distance of Texas from the rest of the Union and the low number of Union troops in the area, enforcement of the Emancipation Proclamation had been slow and inconsistent. Celebrations of this day can be traced back to 1866 and would they grow across the South, typically centered around celebratory festivals. Currently it is not a National Holiday but within 47 States it is a recognized holiday. 

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