On April 20…

“Not to know what has been transacted in former times is to be always a child. If no use is made of the labors of past ages, the world must remain always in the infancy of knowledge.”
~Marcus Tulius Cicero


1898 – On February 17, 1898, the battleship USS Maine, moored in Havana’s harbor, was destroyed after being rocked by two explosions; 252 men on board were killed. Hawks in the media and within the government immediately blamed Spain.
On April 20, 1898, President William McKinley abandoned his hopes for neutrality in a Cuban-Spanish conflict and bowed to pressure from the American media (led by newspaper baron Randolph Hearst, who lambasted McKinley as weak and whipped up popular sentiment for a war to give Cubans their independence) and asked Congress to declare war on Spain. Five days later, Congress approved his request.
It was later discovered that the explosion was caused by the spontaneous ignition of faulty ammunition on board the Maine.


1912 – Boston’s Fenway Park opened with the Red Sox defeating the New York Highlanders (renamed the Yankees the next year), 7-6 in 11 innings.


1912 – Bram Stoker, author of The lady of The Shroud, The Mystery Of The Sea, The Shoulder Of Shasta, but best known for his gothic novel Dracula, died after suffering a series of strokes. He was 64.


1939– Boston Red Sox outfielder Ted Williams made his major league debut against the New York Yankees. The future Hall of Fame player would finish his first season hitting .327 with 31 home runs and 145 RBI.


1945 – Adolf Hitler made his final trip to the surface, climbing the stairs from his Führerbunker on his 56th (and final) birthday to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.
Meanwhile … Allied bombers in Italy “celebrated” Hitler’s birthday by beginning a three-day attack on the bridges over the Adige and Brenta rivers, cutting off German lines of retreat on the peninsula.


1980 – The Castro regime announced that all Cubans wishing to emigrate to the U.S. were free to board boats at the port of Mariel west of Havana, launching the Mariel Boatlift. The first of 125,000 Cuban refugees from Mariel reached Florida the next day.


1992 – Comedian Alfred Hawthorne “Benny” Hill, best known for his long-running internationally popular television program The Benny Hill Show, died from a blood clot inside a blood vessel of his heart. He was 68.


1999 – Two teenage gunmen killed 13 people in a shooting spree at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. At about 11:20 a.m., Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris began shooting students outside the school before moving inside to continue their rampage.
By the time SWAT team officers finally entered the school at about 3:00 p.m., Klebold and Harris had killed 12 fellow students and a teacher, and had wounded another 23 people. Around noon, they had turned their guns on themselves and committed suicide.


2010 – An explosion and fire aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, approximately 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, killed 11 people and triggered the largest offshore oil spill in American history.
The rig had been in the final phases of drilling an exploratory well for BP, the British oil giant. By the time the well was capped three months later, an estimated 4.9 million barrels (or around 206 million gallons) of crude oil had poured into the Gulf.

Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2018 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.

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