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The Associated Press
Friday April 19, 2002

Today is Friday, April 19, the 109th day of 2002. There are 256 days left in the year. 


Highlight in History: 

On April 19, 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the battles of Lexington and Concord. 


On this date: 

In 1782, the Netherlands recognized American independence. 

In 1933, the United States went off the gold standard. 

In 1943, during World War II, tens of thousands of Jews living in the Warsaw Ghetto began a valiant but futile battle against Nazi forces. 

In 1945, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “Carousel” opened on Broadway. 

In 1951, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, relieved of his Far East command by President Truman, bid farewell to Congress, quoting a line from a ballad: “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.” 

In 1982, astronauts Sally K. Ride and Guion S. Bluford Jr. became the first woman and first African-American to be tapped for U.S. space missions. 

In 1989, 47 sailors were killed when a gun turret exploded aboard the USS Iowa. 

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 David Koresh, were killed. 

In 1995, a truck bomb destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people and injuring hundreds. Timothy McVeigh was later convicted of federal murder charges and executed. 

In 1999, the German parliament inaugurated its new home in the restored Reichstag in Berlin, its prewar capital. 


Ten years ago: 

After six days, engineers plugged the tunnel leak under the Chicago River that caused an underground flood that had virtually shut down business in the heart of the city. 


Five years ago:  

More than 50,000 residents abandoned Grand Forks, N.D., as the rising Red River overran sandbags. 


One year ago:  

Pharmaceutical giants dropped a lawsuit against a South African law that could provide cheaper, generic AIDS drugs to millions of Africans, ending an international battle over patent rights and profit. The musical “The Producers” opened on Broadway. Former New Hampshire Gov. Meldrim Thomson died at his home in Orford at age 89. 


Today’s Birthdays:  

Actor Hugh O’Brian is 77. Actress Elinor Donahue is 65. Actor Tim Curry is 56. Pop singer Mark “Flo” Volman (The Turtles; Flo and Eddie) is 55. Tennis player Sue Barker is 46. Recording executive Suge Knight is 37. Actress Ashley Judd is 34. Pop singer Bekka Bramlett is 34. Actor James Franco is 24. Actress Kate Hudson is 23. Actor Hayden Christensen is 21. Actor Courtland Mead is 15.