Today is Wednesday, April 19, the 109th day of 2017. There are 256 days left in the year.
Birthdays: Actor Tim Curry is 71. Pop singer Mark ‘‘Flo’’ Volman is 70. Racing Hall of Famer Al Unser Jr. is 55. Recording executive Suge Knight is 52. Singer-songwriter Dar Williams is 50. Actress Ashley Judd is 49. Jazz singer Madeleine Peyroux is 43. Actor James Franco is 39. Actress Kate Hudson is 38. Actress Catalina Sandino Moreno is 36. Tennis player Maria Sharapova is 30.
In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the battles of Lexington and Concord.
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 1951, General Douglas MacArthur, relieved of his Far East command by President 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 1966, Bobbi Gibb, 23, became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon at a time when only men were allowed to participate. (Gibb jumped into the middle of the pack after the sound of the starting pistol and finished in 3:21:40.)
In 1967, Kathrine Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon under an official number by registering without mentioning her gender; by her own estimate, she finished in 4 hours and 20 minutes.
In 1989, 47 sailors were killed when a gun turret exploded aboard the USS Iowa in the Caribbean.
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 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.)
In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected pope in the first conclave of the new millennium; he took the name Benedict XVI.