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Moments in time

 

• On April 14, 1818, Noah Webster, a Yale-educated lawyer with an avid interest in language and education, publishes his American Dictionary of the English Language. Webster’s dictionary was one of the first to include distinctly American words, introducing more than 10,000 “Americanisms.”

• On April 13, 1870, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is officially incorporated in New York City. The city stipulated that the collection be kept open to the public year-round and free of charge. The first object the Met acquired was a Roman sarcophagus.

• On April 16, 1881, on the streets of Dodge City, famous Western lawman and gunfighter Bat Masterson fights his last gun battle. He would live another 40 years. Masterson had his first shootout in 1876 in Texas over the affections of a dance hall girl named Molly Brennan.

• On April 19, 1897, John J. McDermott of New York wins the first Boston Marathon, a measured distance of 24.5 miles from the Irvington Oval in Boston to Metcalf’s Mill in Ashland. The marathon’s distance was changed in 1908 to its current length of 26 miles 385 yards.

• On April 17, 1945, U.S. Lt. Col. Boris T. Pash commandeers over half a ton of uranium at Strassfut, Germany, in an effort to prevent the Soviets from developing an A-bomb. Pash headed a group searching for German scientists to prevent the Soviets from capturing them.

• On April 15, 1959, new Cuban leader Fidel Castro visits the United States. President Dwight Eisenhower, however, had no intention of meeting with the communist revolutionary and instead went to the golf course.

• On April 18, 1983, the U.S. embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, is almost completely destroyed by a suicide car-bomb explosion that kills 63 people, including 17 Americans. The terrorist attack was carried out in protest of the U.S. military presence in Lebanon.

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