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April 18, 2005

April the Eighteenth

This day in history:

April 18, 1775

At 10 pm Paul Revere, Dr. Samuel Prescott and William Dawes received instructions from Dr. Joseph Warren to ride to Lexington and Concord to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the British approach. In spite of their instructions to do so silently, Revere chose rather to loudly alarm all the houses on the way. His ride was immortalized in a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

April 18, 1906

Form the New York Times, April 18th, 1906:

Most of the people of San Francisco were asleep at 5:13 o'clock this morning when the terrible earthquake came without warning.

The motion of the disturbance apparently was from east to west. At first the upheaval of the earth was gradual, but in a few seconds it increased in intensity. Chimneys began to fall and buildings to crack, tottering on their foundations.

The people became panic-stricken, and rushed into the streets, most of them in their night attire. They were met by showers of falling bricks, cornices, and walls of buildings.

Many were crushed to death, while others were badly mangled. Those who remained indoors generally escaped with their lives, though scores were hit by detached plaster, pictures, and articles thrown to the floor by the shock. It is believed that more or less loss was sustained by nearly every family in the city.

Five hundred people died and an estimated $200 million in damage was done.

April 18, 1942

From the US Navy's historical website:

The April 1942 air attack on Japan, launched from the aircraft carrier Hornet and led by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, was the most daring operation yet undertaken by the United States in the young Pacific War. Though conceived as a diversion that would also boost American and allied morale, the raid generated strategic benefits that far outweighed its limited goals.

...before dawn on 18 April, enemy picket boats were encountered much further east than expected. These were evaded or sunk, but got off radio warnings, forcing the planes to take off around 8 AM, while still more than 600 miles out.

Most of the sixteen B-25s, each with a five-man crew, attacked the Tokyo area, with a few hitting Nagoya. Damage to the intended military targets was modest, and none of the planes reached the Chinese airfields (though all but a few of their crewmen survived). However, the Japanese high command was deeply embarrassed. Three of the eight American airmen they had captured were executed. Spurred by Combined Fleet commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, they also resolved to eliminate the risk of any more such raids by the early destruction of America's aircraft carriers, a decision that led them to disaster at the Battle of Midway a month and a half later.

April 18, 1946

Begun in the aftermath of World War I, with the express purpose of preventing any more World Wars, the League of Nations agreed to disband, some seven years after the beginning of World War II.

The even more inept United Nations had begun just three months earlier, and continues to this day in spite of an even more dismal record.

April 18, 1978

In a sterling tribute to international stupidity, the US Senate approves transfer of Panama Canal to Panama. This would be yet another “subtle” message from President Jimmy Carter to the American voters, telling them “Please don't re-elect me!”

April 18, 2003

Scott Peterson was arrested in San Diego in the death of his wife, Laci, who was eight months pregnant when she vanished on Christmas Eve. Peterson has since been convicted and sentenced to death.


1955  Albert Einstein

Posted by Danny Carlton at April 18, 2005 09:06 AM

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