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Today in History — April 19

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, April 19, the 109th day of 2007. There are 256 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

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

On this date:

In 1897, the first Boston Marathon was held; winner John J. McDermott ran the course in 2:55:10.

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

In 1975, India launched its first satellite atop a Soviet rocket.

In 1982, astronauts Sally K. Ride and Guion S. Bluford Jr. became the first woman and first black 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. (Timothy McVeigh was later convicted of federal murder charges and executed.)

In 2005, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany was elected pope in the first conclave of the new millennium; he took the name Benedict XVI.

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

Five years ago: The U.N. Security Council gave unanimous support to sending a U.N. fact-finding team to the Jenin refugee camp to determine what happened during Israel’s military assault. The space shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth after installing the first girder for a giant framework at the international space station.

One year ago: White House political mastermind Karl Rove surrendered his role as chief policy coordinator and press secretary Scott McClellan resigned in an escalation of a Bush administration shake-up. The U.S. government released a previously secret list of the names and nationalities of 558 people held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Hugh O’Brian is 82. Actress Elinor Donahue is 70. Actor Tim Curry is 61. Pop singer Mark “Flo” Volman (The Turtles; Flo and Eddie) is 60. Tennis player Sue Barker is 51. Recording executive Suge Knight is 42. Singer-songwriter Dar Williams is 40. Actress Ashley Judd is 39. Singer Bekka Bramlett is

39. Latin pop singer Luis Miguel is 37. Actor James Franco is 29. Actress Kate Hudson is 28. Actor Hayden Christensen is 26. Actress Catalina Sandino Moreno is 26. Actor Courtland Mead is 20.

Thought for Today: “Never one thing and seldom one person can make for a success. It takes a number of them merging into one perfect whole.” — Marie Dressler, Canadian actress (1869-1934).