Vultures Row: 4/19 – A Bittersweet Day

4/19 – A Bittersweet Day

Every year April 19 is a bitter sweet day. On one hand it is a day for celebration because it was the day that “the shot heard around the world” was fired starting the American Revolutionary war.
It is bitter because of the massacre at Waco, and the Oklahoma City Bombing also occurred on this date.

Shot Heard Around the world – The "shot heard 'round the world" was a momentous event which took place on April 19th, 1776. The skirmish only lasted five minutes. Despite its short duration, this battle started the American Revolution. General Thomas Gage, the military governor of Massachusetts, had received orders from England to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, two of the leading Colonial revolutionaries. Gage ordered that soldiers be sent to arrest the men, after which the solders, stationed in Boston, were to continue to Concord to seize and destroy the military supplies that the colonists were keeping there. Word got out among the Colonists about what General Gage was planning. The Colonists sent two minutemen, Paul Revere and William Dawes, to warn the inhabitants of Concord. This was the beginning on the two's famous "midnight ride." Upon hearing that the British were coming, the Concord townsfolk had gone about hiding as much of their ammunition as they could. Once they arrived, however, the British destroyed what the colonists had been unable to hide. Some of the ammunition that the British soldiers found was next to the Concord town hall. When the British soldiers began to burn the ammunition, the town hall caught on fire.

About three hundred armed Colonial militia, nowadays, referred to as minutemen, were across the river, away from the town hall. When the minutemen saw smoke in the town, they advanced over the bridge. The British solders fired warning shots into the water, hoping that the colonists would go away. That tactic did not work. The minutemen, not knowing that the fire was accidental, assumed that the solders had purposely set the fire to the town, and were enraged. Joseph Hosmer, a leader of the minutemen troops, shouted, "Will you let them burn the town down"; his men replied "no". Major Buttrick of the minuteman then said "Fire, for God's sake, fire". The minutemen charged towards the Redcoats, the British Solders, who then began to retreat towards the Charlestown Harbor, across the Charles River from Boston. Along the way to the harbor, the two grouped continued to fight. Minutemen joined the battle as the British continued their retreat. In the end, the British suffered approximately three hundred men dead or wounded. The colonists lost one hundred

Waco – Waco, Texas will always be associated with the senseless deaths that occurred there. On February 28, 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) raided the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a rural area near Waco, Texas. The raid resulted in the deaths of four agents and five Davidians. The subsequent 51-day siege by the FBI ended on April 19 when fire completely consumed the complex, killing seventy-six people, including the Davidian leader David Koresh.

The Oklahoma City bombing was a terrorist attack on April 19, 1995, in which the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, a U.S. government office complex in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was destroyed, killing 168 people. It is the largest domestic terrorist attack in the history of the United States and was the largest act of terrorism within U.S. borders until September 11, 2001. Two men later convicted of the bombing, Timothy McVeigh and his friend Terry Nichols, had sympathies with the anti-government militia movement. McVeigh later claimed that his aim was to avenge the Waco massacre.

At 9:02 a.m. CDT on Wednesday, April 19, 1995, in the street in front (the north side) of the Alfred P. Murrah federal building, a rented Ryder truck containing about 5,000 pounds of explosive material exploded. The truck bomb was composed of ammonium nitrate, an agricultural fertilizer, and nitromethane, a highly volatile motor-racing fuel—a mixture also known as Kinepak or ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil). The effects of the blast could even be felt in Bridge Creek, which is about 30 miles away from the Murrah Building.


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