By Mark Wachtler
April 19th - It’s not an official holiday. It’s not really a holiday at all. But somehow, April 19th has become one of the most impassioned dates on the American calendar. And this holiday is just that – American. From the blood that was shed on this day 241 years ago in Concord and Lexington, to the blood that was shed 23 years ago in Waco, to the blood that was shed 21 years ago in Oklahoma City. This day has had new meaning for a great many people. The government doesn’t recognize it, and most wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a holiday of the people, by the people, for the people.
Happy Patriots Day. Image from the 1980's American underground.
“Disperse ye rabble!”
Rabble…’A group of persons regarded with contempt. The non-propertied classes. Used contemptuously’. That’s how Webster defines the word ‘rabble’. That’s also what the British officer called the 77 heavily-armed American civilians standing in wait on the green fields of Lexington. And that’s exactly what America’s King, King George of England, thought of us here in America.
But Americans had developed a stronger and deeper sense of freedom and justice with each passing generation. It was that sense of liberty that led 77 American civilians, the citizens of Lexington – fathers, sons and brothers – to step out and meet 700 British soldiers. Thanks to the midnight warnings of Paul Revere and William Dawes, the people of Massachusetts were ready. Those 77 men didn’t know it at the time. But thousands of their countrymen would rally to their side in the coming hours, and they would change the world.
Lexington and Concord
Nobody really knows what happened on the Lexington green on the early morning of April 19, 1775. According to all accounts, when British Major John Pitcairn ordered the armed Americans to leave, Lexington Militia Captain John Parker conceded and ordered his 77 militiamen off the field. As the Americans slowly drifted away in all directions, a mysterious shot rang out. Immediately, the British soldiers fired upon the fleeing citizens. Many militiamen tried to return fire. But they were all wounded, killed or forced to run away. When the skirmish was over a few minutes later, 8 Americans were killed and 10 wounded. Only one British soldier was injured while none died. It was a one-sided slaughter.
As fast as word had spread about the British marching on Concord, that’s how fast word had spread of the massacre at Lexington only hours later. As the devastated men of Lexington fled into the woods, they slowly began bumping into their revenge-minded neighbors from adjacent towns. They were coming by the 10’s, 20,’s 50’s and hundreds, from every little town in Massachusetts. When the 700 British soldiers reached Concord, the weapons and rebel leaders they were searching for were already gone. Instead, they found they were surrounded by hundreds of militiamen.
Barging right through the terrified but enraged citizen-soldiers, the British marched the 16 miles back to Boston. Along the entire way, fathers and sons from half the families in eastern Massachusetts followed the troops, Indian-style, shooting down one British soldier after another. The red-coated British would occasionally charge into the woods or return fire, killing and injuring a number of militiamen. But the Americans slowly took their toll on the professional soldiers. When the army passed through Lexington on its way back, the Americans took extra pleasure inflicting their brand of freedom upon the tyrannical red coats.
By the time the British army reached the safety of Boston, 300 had been killed, wounded or captured. The Americans had lost less than 100. The Declaration of Independence wouldn’t be written and signed until more than a year later and the US Constitution wouldn’t be adopted, creating America, for another 12 years. But if there was one day in history that America was truly born – its blood, spirit, creed and soul – it was April 19, 1775 on the greens of Lexington, not because of what happened on the green itself, but because of what happened in the hours that followed.
For most Americans who were old enough, the word ‘Waco’ brings only one image to mind – the site of a religious compound and 20 small children being burned alive at the hands of the US federal government…on April 19th, 1993. In the attack on the Mount Carmel Center in which federal authorities burned the entire structure to the ground, 76 parishioners died in all, including 20 small children, 2 pregnant women and 24 British citizens.
Follow-up investigations have since revealed that the BATF suspected illegal activity at the Mount Carmel Center run by a man named David Koresh for some time. In response, Koresh had invited agents to the compound to inspect for themselves on July 30, 1992. While the BATF had a search warrant for Mount Carmel and could have taken David Koresh into custody without incident while he was in town, traveling to and from town, or simply outside somewhere, the agency chose to make a war movie, literally.
On February 28, 1993, the BATF assembled in the city of Waco, Texas, attracting the attention of every media outlet and David Koresh follower in town. The BATF even brought the media and their cameras along on the raid to film what they knew would be a heroic and deadly assault on the compound. They knew the Branch Davidians had numerous legal firearms and suspected they had more powerful illegal ones as well. Word spread back to Mount Carmel faster than the BATF did. Before heavily-armed agents in armored personnel carriers even assaulted the center, Koresh was on the phone with 911 begging them to stop.
While the Branch Davidian leader pleaded with the 911 operator, BATF agents began firing upon the compound. Storming the building, most Americans can still visualize the sight of black-clad ATF agents attempting to enter a second story bedroom window. Seconds later, small black holes begin appearing in the outside aluminum siding. The Davidians began returning fire and forced the ATF back. Agents were being shot all over the place, some caught on video being hit and rolling off the roof. After a 2-hour military battle, 4 ATF agents and 6 Branch Davidians were killed. Many more on both sides were wounded.
After a 50-day siege, the FBI had taken control on the ground and was taking orders directly from Attorney General Janet Reno. In Washington, the federal government set up a war room to deal with the siege of David Koresh and his Branch Davidians. It was there, in the presence of military commanders and reportedly two aids to President Clinton, that Janet Reno authorized an FBI assault that would pump thousands of gallons of a highly flammable, military grade chemical gas into the building housing Koresh and the Davidians.
On April 19, 1993, the FBI stormed Mount Carmel, igniting their chemical weapons on fire and burning 76 people alive, mostly women and children. While most Americans were willing to believe the ATF that the Branch Davidians had illegal firearms and some were willing to believe that Koresh was having relations with underage girls, few agreed with the final outcome of the siege in Waco. Many Americans were left with a bad taste in their mouths. Some even vowed revenge.
"The news shouldn't be left wing or right wing, conservative or liberal. It should be the news. It should be independent" - Mark Wachtler, Whiteout Press founder
On April 19, 1995, exactly 2 years to the day after the tragedy in Waco, members of America’s outraged and underground patriot movement struck back. While they had nothing to do with David Koresh or Mount Carmel, many in America’s militia movement were enraged that American citizens could be treated in such a way by their own government. Not only that, dozens of innocent women and children were murdered in the process. A small handful of heavily-armed and trained militiamen took their rage to a level America had never seen before.
On that morning, a large explosion detonated outside the Alfred P. Murrah Oklahoma City federal building. It was the 2-year anniversary of Waco, and the Murrah federal building just happened to house the offices of the very same BATF and FBI agents that perpetrated the massacre in Waco. In the early moments of the explosion, every US national media network blamed Middle Eastern terrorists for the act. Most in the patriot movement however, immediately knew otherwise.
The explosion that leveled the Oklahoma City federal building was so powerful, it destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within 16 blocks in every direction and shattered the windows in 258 more. 86 cars were destroyed and the total cost of the devastation was estimated at $652 million. The most tragic statistic of all – 168 people were killed, including 19 small children while 680 people were injured.
Within 90 minutes of the explosion, Timothy McVey was taken into custody by an Oklahoma State trooper for driving without a license plate and with an unregistered firearm. Later, along with his friend Terry Nichols, McVey was charged and convicted of carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing. Ironically, it was the US military that trained McVey to be the expert demolitions expert he was. It was also his military oaths and training that put him in touch with other veterans throughout the American patriot movement.
The moral of the story
Perhaps April 19th is nothing more than a day for a history lesson. Others may see it as a day to remember and pay homage to the many innocents who’ve lost their lives because people felt the need to fight, or fight back. If nothing else, it should provide a lesson on America’s spirit. Two centuries ago, a tyrannical American government slaughtered 8 armed and peaceful Americans. In response, Americans killed or wounded 300. Two decades ago, a tyrannical American government slaughtered 76 armed and peaceful Americans. In response, Americans killed or wounded 850. To say the lesson out loud is probably against the law these days. So, we’ll just let those facts sink in and wish all of our readers a happy Patriot’s Day.
You Say You Want A Revolution?