updated 9/14/2006 12:04:36 AM ET 2006-09-14T04:04:36

Today is Thursday, Sept. 14, the 257th day of 2006. There are 108 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write his poem “The Star-Spangled Banner” after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812.

On this date:
In 1812, the Russians set fire to Moscow in the face of an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte’s troops.

In 1901, President McKinley died in Buffalo, N.Y., of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.

In 1927, modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice, France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of her sports car.

In 1948, a groundbreaking ceremony took place in New York at the site of the United Nations’ world headquarters.

In 1959, the Soviet space probe Luna 2 became the first manmade object to reach the moon as it crashed onto the lunar surface.

In 1964, Pope Paul VI opened the third session of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, also known as “Vatican Two.” (The session closed two months later.)

In 1975, Pope Paul VI declared Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton the first U.S.-born saint.

In 1982, Princess Grace of Monaco, formerly actress Grace Kelly, died at age 52 of injuries from a car crash the day before.

In 1982, Lebanon’s president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was killed by a bomb.

In 1985, Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon released the Rev. Benjamin Weir after holding him captive for 16 months.

Ten years ago: Bosnians went to the polls in their first national elections since the 3½-year civil war that had ravaged the Balkan republic. Tara Dawn Holland of Kansas was crowned Miss America.

Five years ago: Patriotism mixed with prayer as Americans packed churches and clogged public squares on a day of remembrance for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. President Bush prayed with his Cabinet and attended services at Washington National Cathedral, then flew to New York, where he waded into the ruins of the World Trade Center and addressed rescue workers in a flag-waving, bullhorn-wielding show of resolve. Officials announced the Pentagon would call up as many as 50,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve.

One year ago: Coordinated bombings killed at least 160 in Baghdad, the deadliest attack since Iraq’s new government took office in April 2005. Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A federal judge in San Francisco declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional (the Bush administration has vowed to appeal). Movie director Robert Wise (“West Side Story”; “The Sound of Music”) died in Los Angeles at age 91.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Zoe Caldwell is 73. Actor Harve Presnell is 73. Feminist author Kate Millett is 72. Actor Walter Koenig is 70. Actor Nicol Williamson is 68. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 62. Actor Sam Neill is 59. Singer Jon “Bowser” Bauman (Sha Na Na) is 59. Rock musician Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) is 51. Country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman is 50. Actress Mary Crosby is 47. Singer Morten Harket (a-ha) is 47. Country singer John Berry is 47. Actress Melissa Leo is 46. Actress Faith Ford is 42. Actor Dan Cortese is 38. Rock musician Craig Montoya (Tri Polar) is 36. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 35. Rapper Nas is 33. Country singer Danielle Peck is 28. Actor Adam Lamberg is 22.

Thought for Today: “Civilizations die from philosophical calm, irony, and the sense of fair play quite as surely as they die of debauchery.” — Joseph Wood Krutch, American author, critic and educator (1893-1970).

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