Anyone who has been following me on Facebook knows that I went to Virginia Tech for graduate school, and that Thursday the 16th marked the 8th anniversary of the loss of 32 Hokies in one unforgettable day.
I won't elaborate. I have said before that it is one of those events that will remain forever etched in my memory. Eight years ago was the first of what have become annual remembrances of the fallen, in which the huge drillfield is filled with those paying their respects.
But, what of the history of the dates that follow:
April 18 and April 19.
First, let's go back to 1775. Paul Revere doesn't know it, but he is about to go for a famous ride, due to the following orders:
Orders to Lieut. Colonel Smith, 10th Regiment ’FootThese are not the only significant days in the history of April 18.
General Thomas Gage
April 18, 1775
Lieut. Colonel Smith, 10th Regiment ’Foot,
Having received intelligence, that a quantity of Ammunition, Provisions, Artillery, Tents and small Arms, have been collected at Concord, for the Avowed Purpose of raising and supporting a Rebellion against His Majesty, you will March with a Corps of Grenadiers and Light Infantry, put under your Command, with the utmost expedition and Secrecy to Concord, where you will seize and distroy all Artillery, Ammunition, Provisions, Tents, Small Arms, and all Military Stores whatever. But you will take care that the Soldiers do not plunder the Inhabitants, or hurt private property.
You have a Draught of Concord, on which is marked the Houses, Barns, &c, which contain the above military Stores. You will order a Trunion to be knocked off each Gun, but if its found impracticable on any, they must be spiked, and the Carriages destroyed. The Powder and flower must be shook out of the Barrels into the River, the Tents burnt, Pork or Beef destroyed in the best way you can devise. And the Men may put Balls of lead in their pockets, throwing them by degrees into Ponds, Ditches &c., but no Quantity together, so that they may be recovered afterwards. If you meet any Brass Artillery, you will order their muzzles to be beat in so as to render them useless.
You will observe by the Draught that it will be necessary to secure the two Bridges as soon as possible, you will therefore Order a party of the best Marchers, to go on with expedition for the purpose.
A small party of Horseback is ordered out to stop all advice of your March getting to Concord before you, and a small number of Artillery go out in Chaises to wait for you on the road, with Sledge Hammers, Spikes, &c.
You will open your business and return with the Troops, as soon as possible, with I must leave to your own Judgment and Discretion.
I am, Sir,
Your most obedient humble servantThos. Gage.
- 1521 - Martin Luther, the chief catalyst of Protestantism, defies the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V by refusing to recant his writings before the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire at Worms.
- 1906 - The Great San Francisco Earthquake
- 1942 - 16 American B-25 bombers, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet 650 miles east of Japan and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, attack the Japanese mainland.
- 1956 - American actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier of Monaco in a spectacular ceremony.
- 1983 - The U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, is almost completely destroyed by a car-bomb explosion that kills 63 people, including the suicide bomber and 17 Americans. The terrorist attack was carried out in protest of the U.S. military presence in Lebanon.
- 1989 - Thousands of Chinese students continue to take to the streets in Beijing to protest government policies and issue a call for greater democracy in the communist People’s Republic of China (PRC).
- 2012 - Dick Clark, the TV personality and producer best known for hosting “American Bandstand,” dies of a heart attack at age 82 in Santa Monica, California.