By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, Here once the embattled farmers stood, And fired the shot heard round the world. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, from “Concord Hymn” Patriots Day commemorates the events of April 19, 1775, that marked the start of the American Revolutionary War, especially the midnight rides of Paul Revere and others to warn of the approach of British troops, and the battles of Lexington and Concord. Today, Massachusetts and Maine celebrate Patriots Day as a legal holiday on the third Monday in April, with reenactments and other events. Learn more about the first shots fired on Lexington Green to “the shot heard round the world” at Concord’s North Bridge by visiting the Minute Man National Park in Concord. The annual running of the Boston Marathon also takes place on this day. You may want to do your patriotic duty and check out the official Web site of the Boston Marathon, sponsored by the Boston Athletic Association.
- 1775: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION BEGAN WITH THE FIRST SHOT FIRED AT LEXINGTON (NO ONE KNOWS FROM WHICH SIDE). THE “SHOT HEARD ROUND THE WORLD” (A REFERENCE FROM RALPH WALDO EMERSON’S POEM “THE CONCORD HYMN”) OCCURRED AT THE NORTH BRIDGE IN CONCORD LATER THAT SAME DAY. IT WAS THE FIRST EXCHANGE WHERE COLONIAL MILITIAMEN WERE ORDERED TO FIRE UPON BRITISH SOLDIERS.
- 1904: GREAT FIRE IN TORONTO STARTED
- 1907: CANADIAN RUNNER TOM LONGBOAT WON THE BOSTON MARATHON IN 2 HOURS, 24 MINUTES, AND 24 SECONDS
- 1916: WOMEN GRANTED THE RIGHT TO VOTE IN ALBERTA, CANADA
- 1919: LESLIE IRVIN MADE THE FIRST FREE-FALL PARACHUTE JUMP, DAYTON, OHIO
- BORN 1930: DICK SARGENT (ACTOR)
- BORN 1933: JAYNE MANSFIELD (ACTRESS)
- 1934: SURGEON’S LOCH NESS MONSTER HOAX PHOTO TAKEN
- 1934: MOVIE STAND UP AND CHEER RELEASED IN U.S., FIRST TO SERIOUSLY LAUNCH SHIRLEY TEMPLE’S FILM CAREER
- BORN 1981: HAYDEN CHRISTENSEN (ACTOR)
- 1988: WIYY DJ BOB RIVERS BEGAN AN ON-AIR VIGIL UNTIL BASEBALL’S BALTIMORE ORIOLES WON (WHICH WAS IN 258 HOURS)
- DIED 1989: DAPHNE DU MAURIER (AUTHOR)
- DIED 2004: NORRIS MCWHIRTER (CO-FOUNDER OF THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS, FINAL ARBITER ON EVERYTHING FROM THE FASTEST CLIMB OF MOUNT EVEREST TO THE WORLD’S LONGEST HOT DOG)
- 2005: CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER OF GERMANY WAS ELECTED POPE. HE CHOSE THE NAME POPE BENEDICT XVI. HE WAS THE OLDEST POPE ELECTED SINCE 1730
- 2021: NASA’S INGENUITY HELICOPTER BECAME THE FIRST AIRCRAFT TO MAKE A POWERED, CONTROLLED FLIGHT ON ANOTHER PLANET (MARS).