Editor’s Note: In recent decades, April 20 has been connected with evil, violence and stoners. It is simultaneously remembered for darkness, death and munchies.
Hitler was born on this date in 1889. The Columbine High School massacre happened in 1999. Four years and one day before, Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombing.
In 1971, a group of bell-bottomed buddies from San Rafael High School in California who called themselves “the Waldos” would meet at 4:20 p.m., just after classes and football practice, to smoke a joint. Their private lexicon — “420 Louie,” and later just “420” — would take on a life of its own.
Here, then, is a look at the truly mixed events on this day in history.
(AP) — Today is Saturday, April 20, the 110th day of 2019. There are 255 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On April 20, 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.
On this date:
In 1889, Adolf Hitler was born in Braunau am Inn, a town in Austria-Hungary (in present-day Austria), close to the border with the German Empire. He was christened as “Adolphus Hitler”. He was the fourth of six children born to Alois Hitler and his third wife, Klara Pölzl.
In 1898, the United States moved closer to war with Spain as President William McKinley signed a congressional resolution passed the day before recognizing Cuban independence and authorizing U.S. military intervention to achieve that goal.
In 1914, the Ludlow Massacre took place when the Colorado National Guard opened fire on a tent colony of striking miners; about 20 (accounts vary) strikers, women and children died.
In 1938, “Olympia,” Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary about the 1936 Berlin Olympic games, was first shown in Nazi Germany.
In 1948, United Auto Workers president Walter P. Reuther was shot and seriously wounded at his home in Detroit.
In 1971, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the use of busing to achieve racial desegregation in schools. National Public Radio made its on-air debut with live coverage of a U.S. Senate hearing on the Vietnam War.
In 1972, Apollo 16’s lunar module, carrying astronauts John W. Young and Charles M. Duke Jr., landed on the moon.
In 1977, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Wooley v. Maynard, ruled 6-3 that car owners could refuse to display state mottoes on license plates, such as New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die.”
In 1986, following an absence of six decades, Russian-born pianist Vladimir Horowitz performed in the Soviet Union to a packed audience at the Grand Hall of the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow.
In 1988, gunmen who had hijacked a Kuwait Airways jumbo jet were allowed safe passage out of Algeria under an agreement that freed the remaining 31 hostages and ended a 15-day siege in which two passengers were slain.
In 1992, the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness took place at London’s Wembley Stadium. Comedian Benny Hill died in his Greater London flat at age 68.
In 2003, U.S. Army forces took control of Baghdad from the Marines in a changing of the guard that thinned the military presence in the capital.
In 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, leased by BP, killed 11 workers and caused a blow-out that began spewing an estimated 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico. (The well was finally capped nearly three months later.)
Ten years ago: In Geneva, the United Nations opened its first anti-racism conference in eight years; dozens of Western diplomats walked out as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called Israel the “most cruel and repressive racist regime.” (Nine countries, including the United States and Israel, were already boycotting the conference.) Medical student Philip Markoff was arrested in the death of Julissa Brisman, a masseuse he’d met through Craigslist and whose body was found in a Boston hotel. (Markoff, who also was accused of robbing two other women, took his own life while in jail in August 2010 as he awaited trial in Brisman’s death.)
Five years ago: Pope Francis made an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and neediest close to home. Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction in New Jersey became an international symbol of racial injustice, died in Toronto at age 76.
One year ago: U.S. health officials told consumers to throw away any store-bought romaine lettuce and warned restaurants not to serve it amid an E. coli outbreak that had sickened more than 50 people in several states. Wells Fargo agreed to pay $1 billion to federal regulators to settle charges stemming from misconduct at its mortgage and auto lending businesses; it was the latest punishment levied against the banking giant for widespread customer abuses. The Democratic Party filed a lawsuit accusing the Donald Trump presidential campaign, Russia, WikiLeaks and Trump’s son and son-in-law of conspiring to undercut Democrats in the 2016 election by stealing tens of thousands of emails and documents.
Today’s Birthdays: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is 99. Actor Leslie Phillips is 95. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., is 83. Actor George Takei is 82. Singer Johnny Tillotson is 81. Actor Ryan O’Neal is 78. Bluegrass singer-musician Doyle Lawson (Quicksilver) is 75. Actress Judith O’Dea is 74. Rock musician Craig Frost (Grand Funk; Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band) is 71. Actor Gregory Itzin is 71. Actress Jessica Lange is 70. Actress Veronica Cartwright is 70. Actor Clint Howard is 60. Actor Crispin Glover is 55. Actor Andy Serkis is 55. Olympic silver medal figure skater Rosalynn Sumners is 55. Actor William deVry is 51. Country singer Wade Hayes is 50. Actor Shemar Moore is 49. Actress Carmen Electra is 47. Reggae singer Stephen Marley is 47. Rock musician Marty Crandall is 44. Actor Joey Lawrence is 43. Country musician Clay Cook (Zac Brown Band) is 41. Actor Clayne Crawford is 41. Actor Tim Jo is 35. Actor Carlos Valdes (TV: “The Flash”) is 30.
Thought for Today: “Life is made up of desires that seem big and vital one minute, and little and absurd the next. I guess we get what’s best for us in the end.” — Alice Caldwell Rice, American humorist (1870-1942).