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April And Our Veterans: Some Dates

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April And Our Veterans: Some Dates

Lest we forget (as Wikipedia

never

does).

0403 - Marshall Plan Anniversary (1948)

: The Marshall Plan (from its enactment, officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was the primary program, 1948"51, of the United States for rebuilding and creating a stronger economic foundation for the countries of Western Europe, and repelling the threat of internal communism after World War II. The initiative was named for Secretary of State George Marshall and was largely the creation of State Department officials, especially William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan. George Marshall spoke of the administration's desire to help European recovery in his address at Harvard University in June 1947.

0406 - US Entered WWI (1917)

: World War I was a military conflict that lasted from 1914 to 1918 and involved most of the world's great powers, assembled in two opposing alliances: the Allies (centered around the Triple Entente - the United Kingdom, the French Third Republic, and Russia) and the Central Powers (German, Hungarian, Turkish, and Bulgarian). More than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, were mobilized in one of the largest wars in history. More than 15 million people were killed, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in history. This war is also known as the War to End All Wars.

0409 - Former POW Recognition Day

: Proclamation By the President of the United States of America - American prisoners of war exemplify the courage and sacrifice that define our men and women in uniform. These brave warriors have paid a massive share of the costs of freedom, and our Nation will be forever in their debt. Today we honor all prisoners of war by recognizing the tremendous sacrifices made and the hardships endured by those who fight for our freedom. American prisoners of war have experienced extreme conditions across the world and many have made the ultimate sacrifice. Sixty-seven years ago, in the midst of World War II, nearly 12,000 Americans and 76,000 Filipinos were captured while defending positions on the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. As prisoners of war, they endured the Bataan Death March, suffering starvation, torture, and unspeakable conditions. Thousands were randomly executed and many perished on this journey. During the Korean War, more than 1,600 Americans died under grave conditions at the Pyok Tong camp. In Vietnam's Hoa Lo Prison-the infamous Hanoi Hilton-Americans endured torture and other forms of inhumane treatment. There are countless tales of the bravery of American prisoners of war-of the burdens borne, of the acts of heroism. These individuals have made great sacrifices and have demonstrated an enduring faith in themselves and in the United States. Their commitment calls out to all Americans to live up to our Nation's highest ideals and to serve our fellow citizens with equal selflessness and honor. We will never forget their sacrifices. Their spirit of service will inspire the American people for generations to come. Now, Therefore, I, Barack Obama, President of the United States of America, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 9, (2009) as National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, and I urge all Americans to observe this day of remembrance with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

0410 - Bataan Death March (1942)

: The Bataan Death March took place in the Philippines in 1942 and was later accounted for as a Japanese war crime. The 60-mile (97 km) march occurred after the three-month Battle of Bataan, part of the Battle of the Philippines (1941"42), during World War II. The march, involving the forcible transfer of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war captured by the Japanese in the Philippines from the Bataan peninsula to prison camps, was characterized by wide-ranging physical abuse and murder, and resulted in very high fatalities inflicted upon the prisoners and civilians along the route by the armed forces of the Empire of Japan. There was a deliberate refusal to allow the prisoners food or water while keeping them continually marching for nearly a week in tropical heat. Falling down or inability to continue moving was tantamount to a death sentence, as was any degree of protest or expression of displeasure. The exact death count has been impossible to determine, but some historians have placed the minimum death toll between six and eleven thousand men; whereas other postwar Allied reports have tabulated that only 54,000 of the 72,000 prisoners reached their destination.

0414 - PVA established (1947)

: The Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) is a veterans' service organization. The group holds a congressional charter. Mission: It describes itself as having "developed a unique expertise on a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of our members - veterans of the armed forces who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction." It is also involved with promoting and protecting the civil rights of the disabled.

0417 - Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961)

: The Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful attempt by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba with support from US government armed forces, to overthrow the Cuban government of Fidel Castro. The plan was launched in April 1961, less than three months after John F. Kennedy assumed the presidency. The Cuban armed forces, trained and equipped by Eastern Bloc nations, defeated the exile combatants in three days. The invasion is named after the Bay of Pigs, which is just one possible translation of the Spanish Baha de Cochinos. The main invasion landing specifically took place at a beach named Playa Girn, located at the mouth of the bay.

0418 - Paul Revere and William Dawes "the British are coming" (1775)

: The role for which Paul Revere is most remembered was as a night-time messenger on horseback just before the battles of Lexington and Concord. His famous "Midnight Ride" occurred on the night of April 18/April 19, 1775, when he and William Dawes were instructed by Dr. Joseph Warren to ride from Boston to Lexington to warn John Hancock and Samuel Adams of the movements of the British Army, which was beginning a march from Boston to Lexington, ostensibly to arrest Hancock and Adams and seize the weapons stores in Concord. At about 11 pm, Revere was sent by Dr. Warren across the Charles River to Charlestown, on the opposite shore, where he could begin a ride to Lexington, while Dawes was sent the long way around, via the Boston Neck and the land route to Lexington. Revere did not shout the famous phrase later attributed to him ("The British are coming!"), largely because the mission depended on secrecy and the countryside was filled with British army patrols; also, most colonial residents at the time considered themselves British as they were all legally British subjects. Revere's warning, according to eyewitness accounts of the ride and Revere's own descriptions, was "The Regulars are coming out." Revere arrived in Lexington around midnight, with Dawes arriving about a half hour later. Samuel Adams and John Hancock were spending the night at the Hancock-Clarke House in Lexington, and they spent a great deal of time discussing plans of action upon receiving the news. Revere and Dawes, meanwhile, decided to ride on toward Concord, where the militia's arsenal was hidden. They were joined by Samuel Prescott, a doctor who happened to be in Lexington. The warning delivered by the three riders successfully allowed the militia to repel the British troops in Concord, who were harried by guerrilla fire along the road back to Boston. Revere's role was not particularly noted during his life. In 1861, over 40 years after his death, the ride became the subject of "Paul Revere's Ride", a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem has become one of the best known in American history and was memorized by generations of schoolchildren. Its famous opening lines are:

Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year


0419 - Oklahoma City Bombing (1995)

: The Oklahoma City bombing occurred when American militia movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh, with the assistance of Terry Nichols, destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. It was the most significant act of terrorism on American soil until the September 11 attacks in 2001, claiming the lives of 168 victims and injuring more than 680. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a sixteen"block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings. The bomb was estimated to have caused at least $652 million worth of damage. Motivated by the federal government's handling of the Waco Siege (1993) and the Ruby Ridge incident (1992), McVeigh's attack was timed to coincide with the second anniversary of the Waco Siege. Within 90 minutes of the explosion McVeigh was stopped by Oklahoma State Trooper Charlie Hanger for driving without a license plate, and arrested for unlawfully carrying a weapon. Forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and Nichols to the attack, and within days they were arrested and charged; Michael and Lori Fortier were later identified as accomplices. The bombers were tried and convicted in 1997. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison. Michael and Lori Fortier testified against McVeigh and Nichols; Michael was sentenced to twelve years in prison for failing to warn the U.S. government, and Lori received immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony. As with other large-scale terrorist attacks, conspiracy theories dispute the official claims and allege the involvement of additional perpetrators.

0419 - American Revolution begins at Lexington Massachusetts (1775)

: The Battle of Lexington and Concord took place when the British sent a force of roughly 1,000 troops to confiscate arms and arrest revolutionaries in Concord. They clashed with the local militia, marking the first fighting of the American Revolutionary War. The news aroused the 13 colonies to call out their militias and send troops to besiege Boston.

0422 - First Spanish-American War action a blockade of Cuban ports (1898)

: The United States Navy begins a blockade of Cuban ports and the USS Nashville captures a Spanish merchant ship. Ostensibly fought over the issue of Cuban independence, the four-month war developed into a global conflict as the U.S. Navy sought to dislodge Spain from longstanding colonial outposts in both the Caribbean and the South Pacific. Its outcome-with temporary administrative authority over Cuba and indefinite colonial authority over Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines ceded to the U.S. through the December 10, 1898 Treaty of Paris - had long-range implications for both belligerent parties. For Spain, the conflict, thereafter referred to as "the Disaster," contributed to the further weakening of the Restoration Government, the eventual rise of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship, and Spain's military insignificance in the twentieth century. The victorious United States, however, gained several island possessions spanning the globe and a modern navy capable of defending them.

0430 - Fall of Saigon Vietnam (1975)

: The Fall of Saigon was the capture of Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, by the North Vietnamese Army. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War and the start of a transition period leading to the formal reunification of Vietnam under communist rule. North Vietnamese forces under the command of the Senior General Vn Tin Dng began their final attack on Saigon, which was commanded by General Nguyen Van Toan on April 29, with a heavy artillery bombardment. By the afternoon of the next day, North Vietnamese troops had occupied the important points within the city and raised their flag over the South Vietnamese presidential palace. South Vietnam capitulated shortly after. The city was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The fall of the city was preceded by the evacuation of almost all the American civilian and military personnel in Saigon, along with tens of thousands of South Vietnamese civilians associated with the southern regime. The evacuation culminated in Operation Frequent Wind, which was the largest helicopter evacuation in history. In addition to the flight of refugees, the end of the war and institution of new rules by the communists contributed to a decline in the population of the city.

0430 - Adolf Hitler commits suicide (1945)

: After midnight on 29 April, Hitler married Eva Braun in a small civil ceremony in a map room within the bunker complex. Antony Beevor stated that after Hitler hosted a modest wedding breakfast with his new wife, Hitler then took secretary Traudl Junge to another room and dictated his last will and testament. He signed these documents at 04:00 and then retired to bed (some sources say Hitler dictated the last will and testament immediately before the wedding, but all sources agree on the timing of the signing). Hitler and Braun lived together as husband and wife in the bunker for fewer than 40 hours. Late in the morning of 30 April, with the Soviets less than 500 metres from the bunker, Hitler had a meeting with General Helmuth Weidling, commander of the Berlin Defence Area, who informed Hitler the Berlin garrison would probably run out of ammunition that night. Weidling asked Hitler for permission to break out, a request he had made unsuccessfully before. Hitler did not answer at first and Weidling went back to his headquarters in the Bendlerblock where at about 13:00 he got Hitler's permission to try a breakout that night. Hitler, two secretaries and his personal cook then had lunch consisting of spaghetti with a light sauce, after which Hitler and Eva Braun said their personal farewells to members of the F1/4hrerbunker staff and fellow occupants, including the Goebbels family, Martin Bormann, the secretaries and several military officers. At around 14:30 Adolf and Eva Hitler went into Hitler's personal study. Some witnesses later reported hearing a loud gunshot at around 15:30. After waiting a few minutes, Hitler's valet, Heinz Linge, with Bormann at his side, opened the door to the small study. Linge later stated he immediately noted a scent of burnt almonds, a common observation made in the presence of prussic acid, the aqueous form of hydrogen cyanide. Hitler's SS adjutant, Sturmbannf1/4hrer Otto G1/4nsche, entered the study to inspect the bodies, which were found seated on a small sofa, Eva's to Hitler's left and slumped away from him. G1/4nsche has since stated that Hitler "...sat...sunken over, with blood dripping out of his right temple. He had shot himself with his own pistol..." The Walther PPK 7.65 mm pistol lay at Hitler's feet; the Walther was the same pistol that his neice, Geli Raubal had used in her suicide. According to Hitler's SS bodyguard, Oberscharf1/4hrer Rochus Misch, Hitler's head was lying on the table in front of him. Blood dripping from his temple and chin had made a large stain on the right arm of the sofa and was pooling on the floor/carpet. Eva's body had no visible physical wounds. G1/4nsche exited the study and announced that the F1/4hrer was dead. Several witnesses said the two bodies were carried up to ground level and through the bunker's emergency exit to a small, bombed-out garden behind the Chancellery where they were doused with petrol and set alight by Linge and members of Hitler's personal SS bodyguard. The SS guards and Linge later noted the fire did not completely destroy the corpses but Soviet shelling of the bunker compound made further cremation attempts impossible and the remains were later covered up in a shallow bomb crater after 18:00.

--- Regards, Walt Schmidt