The Thing About Today – April 19

April 19, 2020
Day 110 of 366


April 19th is the 110th day of the year. It is Holocaust Remembrance Day in Poland.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Amaretto Day, National Garlic Day, National Hanging Out Day, and National North Dakota Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1506, the Lisbon Massacre began. A crowd of Catholics, as well as foreign sailors who were anchored in the Tagus, persecuted, tortured, killed, and burnt at the stake hundreds of people who were accused of being Jews. That accusation was enough for the crowd to find the victims guilty of deicide and heresy. This was thirty years before the establishment of the Inquisition in Portugal and nine years after the Jews were forced to convert to Roman Catholicism under King Manuel I.
  • In 1713, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, having no male heirs, issued the Pragmatic Sanction of 1713 to ensure that Habsburg lands and the Austrian throne would be inheritable by a female. His daughter and successor, Maria Theresa, would be born four years later.
  • In 1775, The American Revolutionary War began with an American victory in Concord during the battles of Lexington and Concord.
  • In 1782, John Adams secured the Dutch Republic’s recognition of the United States as an independent government. The house which he had purchased in The Hague, Netherlands became the first American embassy.
  • In 1818, French physicist Augustin Fresnel signed his preliminary “Note on the Theory of Diffraction”. The document ended with what we now call the Fresnel integrals.
  • In 1933, actress Jayne Mansfield was born.
  • In 1934, Shirley Temple appeared in her first movie, Stand Up & Cheer.
  • In 1935, actor and comedian Dudley Moore was born.
  • In 1946, actor Tim Curry was born.
  • In 1964, astrophysicist, astronomer, and academic Kim Weaver was born.
  • In 1968, actress Ashley Judd was born.
  • In 1971, Salyut 1 was launched. It was the first space station.
  • In 1979, actress Kate Hudson was born.
  • In 1981, actor Hayden Christensen was born.
  • In 1987, The Simpsons first appeared on television as a series of shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show. The first one was “Good Night”.


In 1995, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma was bombed. 168 people were killed in the attack, including 19 children under the age of six.

The domestic terror attack was perpetrated by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. McVeigh parked a Ryder truck filled with fertilizer and explosives near the building and detonated it at approximately 9:00 am. They were motivated by the federal government’s standoffs at Ruby Ridge in Idaho (1992) and the Branch Davidian cult compound in Waco, Texas (1993), seeking revenge for those events.

The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a 4-block radius, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. It created a 30-foot-wide and 8-foot-deep crater at the blast site, destroying one-third of the federal building.

After an extensive investigation, the bombers were tried and convicted in 1997. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection in June 2001 and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. The United States Congress passes a series of laws, including a tightening of standards for habeas corpus and increased protection around federal buildings to deter future terrorist attacks.

On April 19, 2000, the Oklahoma City National Memorial was dedicated on the site of the Murrah Federal Building, commemorating the victims of the bombing. Remembrance services are held every year on April 19th, at the exact time of the explosion.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.




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