April 19, 1775
BRITISH TROOPS FIRE ON LEXINGTON MILITIA
A force of more than 700 British Regulars arrived at the town of Lexington outside Boston, Massachusetts this morning about 5 o’clock.
They found a group of about 70 local armed militia lined up on the village green.
Captain of the militia, John Parker, had given his men this command:
“Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!”
John Parker Statue
Major John Pitcairn demanded the colonials to disperse but in the process a shot was fired. The source of the shot has not been identified.
This was followed by a volley & bayonet charge by the Regulars. 8 colonials were killed & 10 more wounded.
The British reformed & marched on to the town of Concord where they occupied the town. The Concord militia took up positions on Punkatasset Hill on the opposite side of the Old North Bridge.
When smoke came from the town, the militia launched an attack on the North Bridge.
British Lt. Col. Francis Smith ordered his troops to march back to Boston, about 16 miles distant.
On their return, the British were harassed by militia from throughout New England.*
*The Battles of Lexington & Concord mark the beginning of the American War for Independence.
Samuel Adams is reported to have said at the end of the day: “What a glorious day for America!”
Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775
April 19, 1961
US TO SEND MILITARY ADVISERS TO LAOS
The United States Embassy in Laos announced today that US military advisers are going to be sent to Laos to provide technical & tactical advice to the Laotian army fighting against the communists.
The advisers will be part of the Military Assistance Advisory Group.
This action by the Kennedy administration follows the Soviet refusal to respond to a call for a cease fire by the British.
Mekong River in Laos
Photo by Allie Caulfield (2009)
April 19, 1963
REV. KING RELEASED FROM BIRMINGHAM JAIL
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., leader of civil rights demonstrations in Birmingham, Alabama, has been released today after a week in jail.
Fearing his condition, having been placed in “isolation”, Coretta Scott King, the minister’s wife, talked with both President Kennedy & Attorney General Robert Kennedy to ask for their help.
In response, Federal agents were sent to Birmingham to obtain King’s release.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 19, 1971
VIETNAM VETS DEMONSTRATE AGAINST WAR
The Veterans Against the War in Vietnam, an organization of 40,000 members, began a 5 day demonstration today in the Nation’s Capital.
The demonstration is called “Dewey Canyon III” in honor of an operation in Laos.*
*On April 24, a massive demonstration of 200,000 protesters took place on the Mall in Washington, D.C. There was a similar demonstration of 156,000 in San Francisco.
April 19, 1995
FEDERAL BUILDING BOMBED IN OKLAHOMA
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City exploded this morning when a bomb, planted in a rental car parked nearby, exploded at 9:02.
This act of terrorism is the worst in US history with 168 dead & hundreds more injured.
About an hour after the bombing, Oklahoma state police arrested Timothy McVeigh for driving with no license plates & carrying a concealed weapon.
The FBI reportedly has asked local police authorities to hold McVeigh as a suspect in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Murrah Federal Building
April 19, 1984
“ADVANCE AUSTRALIA FAIR” PROCLAIMED NATIONAL ANTHEM
Governor General Sir Ninian M. Stephen officially proclaimed “Advance Australia Fair” as the nation’s national anthem today.
The patriotic song, written by Peter Dodds McCormick, was 1st performed on Saint Andrew’s Day, November 30, 1878 in Sydney.
“God Save the King” (Queen) was the national anthem of Australia from 1788 to 1974.
“Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young & free
We’ve golden soil & wealth for toil
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich & rare
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia fair..”*
*Being half Australian (my mother was born in Sydney), I am very fond of this song.
April 19, 1824
LORD BYRON DIES IN GREECE
George Gordon Byron, the 6th Baron Byron, died today at the age of 36 in Greece.
He was there to support the struggle for independence from Turkey.
Born in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1788, Lord Byron published his 1st volume of poetry, Hours of Idleness, in 1807 & his 2nd, English Bards & Scotch Reviewers, in 1809.
In Greece, Lord Byron trained troops in the town of Missolonghi.
Lord George Gordon Byron