Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

April 19, 2014

Today in History for Saturday, April 19, 2014

--- — Highlight in History

On April 19, 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, Clayton Hartwig, had deliberately sparked the blast, but later said there was no proof of that.)

On this date

In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the battles of Lexington and Concord.

In 1861, a week after the Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln authorized a blockade of Southern ports.

In 1912, a special subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee opened hearings in New York into the Titanic disaster.

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 1975, India launched its first satellite atop a Soviet rocket.

In 1989, investment banker Trisha Meili, a jogger in New York’s Central Park, was brutally beaten and raped. (Five teenagers were convicted of the crime; all served prison time. But their convictions were vacated in 2002 after Matias Reyes, a murderer and serial rapist, confessed that he alone had attacked Meili.)

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; dozens of people, including sect leader David Koresh, were killed.

In 1994, a Los Angeles jury awarded $3.8 million to beaten motorist Rodney King. The Supreme Court, 6-3, outlawed the practice of excluding people from juries because of their gender.

In 1995, a truck bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. (Bomber Timothy McVeigh was later convicted of federal murder charges and executed.)

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