American Revolutionary War: In 1775, the Battles ofLexington and Concord began. The American Revolution was an effort by 13 British colonies in North America (with help from France, Spain, and the Netherlands) to win their independence. Acting on orders from London to suppress the rebellious colonists, General Thomas Gage, recently appointed royal governor of Massachusetts, ordered his troops to seize the colonists’ military stores at Concord. En route from Boston, the British force of 700 men was met on Lexington Green by 77 local minutemen and others who had been forewarned of the raid by the colonists’ efficient lines of communication, including the rides of William Dawes and Paul Revere. It is unclear who fired the first shot. Resistance melted away at Lexington, and the British moved on to Concord. Most of the American military supplies had been hidden or destroyed before the British troops arrived. A British covering party at Concord’s North Bridge was finally confronted by 320 to 400 American patriots and forced to withdraw. The march back to Boston was a genuine ordeal for the British, with Americans continually firing on them from behind roadside houses, barns, trees, and stone walls. This experience established guerrilla warfare as the colonists’ best defense strategy against the British. Total losses were British 273, American 95.
American Civil War: In 1861, President AbrahamLincoln authorized a blockade of Confederate ports.
World War II: In 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising,an act of resistance by Polish Jews under German Army occupation, began and wasquelled four weeks later, on May 16.
Korean War: In 1951, General of the Army DouglasMacArthur, who had been relieved of command by President Harry S.Truman, bade farewell in an address to Congress, quoting a line from an old ballad, “Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”
In 1960, students in the Republic of Korea began an uprising that toppledthe government of President Syngman Rhee. Shortly thereafter, South Korean troops were redeployed from positions along the Demilitarized Zone for securityduties in Seoul. US forces were placed on high alert; I was ordered to “convert” my Field Artillery firing battery into a provisional Infantry platoon—a conversion that was both unexpected and relatively infeasible.
In 1975, Aryabhata, the first unmanned Earth satellite built by India, waslaunched from the Soviet Union by a Russian-made rocket.
In 1993, after a 51-day standoff with U.S. federal agents, some 80 membersof the millennialist Branch Davidian religious group perished in a fire at theircompound near Waco, Texas.
In 1995, a truck bomb nearly destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah FederalBuilding in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, killing 168 and injuring more than 500people.