Today in History
Today is Friday, April 19, the 109th day of 2019. There are 256 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 19, 1995, a truck bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. (Bomber Timothy McVeigh, who prosecutors said had planned the attack as revenge for the Waco siege of two years earlier, was convicted of federal murder charges and executed in 2001.)
On this date:
In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the battles of Lexington and Concord.
In 1865, a funeral was held at the White House for President Abraham Lincoln, assassinated five days earlier; his coffin was then taken to the U.S. Capitol for a private memorial service in the Rotunda.
In 1939, Connecticut became the last of the original 13 colonies to ratify the Bill of Rights, 147 years after it took effect.
In 1943, during World War II, tens of thousands of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto began a valiant but ultimately futile battle against Nazi forces.
In 1951, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, relieved of his Far East command by President Harry S. Truman, bade farewell in an address to Congress in which he quoted a line from a ballad: “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”
In 1966, Bobbi Gibb, 23, became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon at a time when only men were allowed to participate. (Gibb jumped into the middle of the pack after the sound of the starting pistol and finished in 3:21:40.)
In 1977, the Supreme Court, in Ingraham v. Wright, ruled 5-4 that even severe spanking of schoolchildren by faculty members did not violate the Eighth Amendment ban against cruel and unusual punishment.
In 1989, 47 sailors were killed when a gun turret exploded aboard the USS Iowa in the Caribbean. (The Navy initially suspected that a dead crew member had deliberately sparked the blast, but later said there was no proof of that.)
In 1993, the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, ended as fire destroyed the structure after federal agents began smashing their way in; about 80 people, including two dozen children and sect leader David Koresh, were killed.
In 1994, a Los Angeles jury awarded $3.8 million to beaten motorist Rodney King.
In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected pope in the first conclave of the new millennium; he took the name Benedict XVI.
In 2013, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR’ tsahr-NEYE’-ehv), a 19-year-old college student wanted in the Boston Marathon bombings, was taken into custody after a manhunt that had left the city virtually paralyzed; his older brother and alleged accomplice, 26-year-old Tamerlan (TAM’-ehr-luhn), was killed earlier in a furious attempt to escape police.
Ten years ago: The Summit of the Americas wrapped up in Trinidad and Tobago; afterward, President Barack Obama held a news conference in which he defended his brand of world politics, saying he “strengthens our hand” by reaching out to enemies of the United States. Author J.G. Ballard, a survivor of a Japanese prison camp who reached a wide audience with the autobiographical “Empire Of The Sun,” died in London at age 78. Felix “Doc” Blanchard, football superhero for Army and winner of the 1945 Heisman Trophy, died at his central Texas home at age 84.
Five years ago: The captain of a ferry that sank off the coast of South Korea, leaving more than 300 dead, was arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. (Lee Joon-seok was later sentenced to 36 years in prison; he was acquitted of a homicide charge which could have carried a death sentence.) Ten months after their capture in Syria, four French journalists crossed the border into neighboring Turkey to freedom, though dozens more remained held in the country’s chaotic civil war. Country music singer Kevin Sharp, 43, died in Fair Oaks, California.
One year ago: Raul Castro turned over Cuba’s presidency to Miguel Mario Diaz-Canel Bermudez, the first non-Castro to hold Cuba’s top government office since the 1959 revolution led by Fidel Castro and his younger brother Raul. Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois brought her 10-day-old daughter to the Senate floor one day after senators approved a new rule permitting it; Duckworth was the first senator to have given birth while serving in the Senate. Walter Leroy Moody, age 83, was executed by lethal injection in Alabama for the mail-bomb slaying of a federal judge in 1989; Moody became the oldest prisoner put to death in the U.S. in modern times. Authorities in Minnesota ended their investigation into the death of music superstar Prince from an accidental overdose without charging anyone in the case.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Elinor Donahue is 82. Rock musician Alan Price (The Animals) is 77. Actor Tim Curry is 73. Pop singer Mark “Flo” Volman (The Turtles; Flo and Eddie) is 72. Actor Tony Plana is 67. Former tennis player Sue Barker is 63. Motorsports Hall of Famer Al Unser Jr. is 57. Actor Tom Wood is 56. Recording executive Suge Knight is 54. Singer-songwriter Dar Williams is 52. Actress Kim Hawthorne (TV: “Greenleaf”) is 51. Actress Ashley Judd is 51. Singer Bekka Bramlett is 51. Latin pop singer Luis Miguel is 49. Actress Jennifer Esposito is 47. Actress Jennifer Taylor is 47. Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux (PAY’-roo) is 45. Actor James Franco is 41. Actress Kate Hudson is 40. Actor Hayden Christensen is 38. Actress Catalina Sandino Moreno is 38. Actress-comedian Ali Wong is 37. Actress Victoria Yeates is 36. Actress Kelen Coleman is 35. Actor Zack Conroy is 34. Roots rock musician Steve Johnson (Alabama Shakes) is 34. Actor Courtland Mead is 32. Tennis player Maria Sharapova is 32.
Thought for Today: “Never one thing and seldom one person can make for a success. It takes a number of them merging into one perfect whole.” — Marie Dressler, Canadian actress (1869-1934).