As the intense and unprecedented manhunt continued on Friday morning in and around Boston for the second suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings – identified as Dzhokar Tsarnaev, 19, a Chechen national – it’s worth noting the other significant events that have occurred on this date, some similarly terrible and fear-inducing, some considerably lighter in the scheme of things.
Here’s a small sampling.
The Oklahoma City Bombing – April 19, 1995:
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK, was destroyed when a truck packed with explosives blasted the building, killing 168 people. Timothy McVeigh, convicted of the bombing in 1997, was executed by lethal injection in June 2001.
The Waco Cult Assault – April 19, 1993:
An assault on the Waco cult headquarters of the Branch Davidian sect near Waco, Texas, ended in a fatal fire, believed to have been started by those huddled inside the building. Some 70 cult members perished in the blaze, including cult leader David Koresh.
Militant Students Occupy Cornell Univ. Building – April 19, 1969:
A group of students described as black militants used force to take over Willard Straight Hall to demand that Cornell University create a black studies program, among other demands. After a deal was reached with the administration, news reports showed images of students leaving the building wearing bandoliers and carrying rifles, although the weapons were apparently never used.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – April 19, 1943:
Between July 22 and Sept. 12, 1942, German authorities deported or murdered some 300,000 Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. Shortly before Passover, April 19, 1943, the police and Nazi auxiliary forces entered the ghetto to flush out insurgents who had begun an uprising earlier in the year. But Jewish insurgents, who fought back with hand grenades and Molotov cocktails hurled from alleyways, forced them to halt the exercise and withdraw. By April 29, 1943, ten days later, the Jewish resistance had been crushed.
Mae West Fined $500 for Obscene Performance – April 19, 1927:
The actress and entertainer Mae West – well-known for her controversial and often lewd performances – was sentenced to ten days in a workhouse and fined $500 for an obscene stage act in which she was said to have “corrupted the morals of youth.” She was incarcerated at what’s known today as Roosevelt Island and served eight days, with two days off for good behavior. By 1935 she was the second-highest paid individual in the U.S., after William Randolph Hearst.
The Simpsons TV Show Launched – April 19, 1987:
Originally created as a series of shorts for the Tracey Ullman Show, The Simpsons was first shown as a full television program on this date. It’s now the longest running scripted show in TV history, has won numerous awards and holds the Guinness Book of World Records titles for longest running prime-time animated TV series and most guest stars featured in a TV series.
The Boston Marathon Began – April 19, 1897:
The world’s oldest annual marathon kicked off on this date 116 years ago, inspired by the Olympic Games held in Athens, Greece, one year earlier. An average of 20,000 people have taken part in the marathon through the years, and the marathon is one of five members of the World Marathon Majors, which includes New York City, Chicago, London and Berlin.