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Today in History

Today in History

Today is Monday, April 19, the 109th day of 2021. 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 1897, the first Boston Marathon was held; winner John J. McDermott ran the course in two hours, 55 minutes and 10 seconds.

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 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.

In 2015, Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man, died a week after suffering a spinal cord injury in the back of a Baltimore police van while he was handcuffed and shackled. (Six police officers were charged; three were acquitted and the city’s top prosecutor eventually dropped the three remaining cases.)

In 2018, 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.

Ten years ago: Cuba’s Communist Party picked 79-year-old Raul Castro to replace his ailing brother Fidel as first secretary during a key Party Congress. Syria did away with 50 years of emergency rule, but emboldened and defiant crowds accused President Bashar Assad of simply trying to buy time while clinging to power. Norwegian runner Grete Waitz, 57, who’d won nine New York marathons and the silver medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, died in Oslo.

Five years ago: Front-runners Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton swept to resounding victories in New York’s primary. Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro delivered a valedictory speech to the Communist Party that he put in power a half-century earlier, telling party members he was nearing the end of his life and exhorting them to help his ideas survive.

One year ago: Canadian authorities brought an end to a deadly weekend rampage, fatally shooting a man who had killed 22 people in shootings and fires across central and northern Nova Scotia; Gabriel Wortman had been driving a replica police car during the rampage. A handful of Eastern Orthodox priests held mass for the Christian holiday of Easter in an empty Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem due to coronavirus restrictions. (Eastern Christian rites mark Easter a week after the Catholic calendar.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Elinor Donahue is 84. Rock musician Alan Price (The Animals) is 79. Actor Tim Curry is 75. Pop singer Mark “Flo” Volman (The Turtles; Flo and Eddie) is 74. Actor Tony Plana is 69. Former tennis player Sue Barker is 65. Motorsports Hall of Famer Al Unser Jr. is 59. Actor Tom Wood is 58. Former recording executive Suge Knight is 56. Singer-songwriter Dar Williams is 54. Actor Kim Hawthorne (TV: “Greenleaf”) is 53. Actor Ashley Judd is 53. Singer Bekka Bramlett is 53. Latin pop singer Luis Miguel is 51. Actor Jennifer Esposito is 49. Actor Jennifer Taylor is 49. Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux (PAY’-roo) is 47. Actor James Franco is 43. Actor Kate Hudson is 42. Actor Hayden Christensen is 40. Actor Catalina Sandino Moreno is 40. Actor-comedian Ali Wong is 39. Actor Victoria Yeates is 38. Actor Kelen Coleman is 37. Actor Zack Conroy is 36. Roots rock musician Steve Johnson (Alabama Shakes) is 36. Actor Courtland Mead is 34. Retired tennis player Maria Sharapova is 34. NHL forward Patrik Laine is 33.

By The Associated Press

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