Today is Thursday, April 19, the 110th day of 2012. There are 256 days left in the year.
On April 19, 1912, a special subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee opened hearings in New York into the Titanic disaster. (The hearings, which were subsequently moved to Washington, D.C., concluded on May 28.)
On this date:
In 1012, Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, was slain by Danish invaders in Greenwich, England, after refusing to allow himself to be ransomed. (Revered as a martyr, Alphege was canonized by Pope Gregory VII in 1078.)
In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with the battles of Lexington and Concord.
In 1861, a week after the Civil War began, President Abraham Lincoln authorized a blockade of Southern ports.
In 1933, the United States went off the gold standard.
In 1943, during World War II, tens of thousands of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto began a valiant but ultimately futile battle against Nazi forces.
In 1951, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, relieved of his Far East command by President Harry 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 1966, Bobbi Gibb became the first woman to run in the Boston Marathon, which at that time did not allow women to participate. (Gibb jumped into the middle of the pack after the sound of the starting pistol and finished in 3:21:40.)
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 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 sect leader David Koresh, were killed.