updated 9/23/2006 12:01:53 AM ET 2006-09-23T04:01:53

Today is Saturday, Sept. 23, the 266th day of 2006. There are 99 days left in the year. Autumn arrives at 12:03 a.m. Eastern time.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Two hundred years ago, on Sept. 23, 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis more than two years after setting out for the Pacific Northwest.

On this date:
In 1642, Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., held its first commencement.

In 1779, during the Revolutionary War, the American warship Bon Homme Richard, commanded by John Paul Jones, defeated the HMS Serapis.

In 1780, British spy John Andre was captured along with papers revealing Benedict Arnold’s plot to surrender West Point to the British.

In 1846, Neptune was identified as a planet by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.

In 1938, a time capsule, to be opened in the year 6939, was buried on the grounds of the World’s Fair in New York City.

In 1939, Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, died in London.

In 1952, Republican vice presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon went on television to deliver what came to be known as the “Checkers” speech as he refuted allegations of improper campaign financing.

In 1957, nine black students who had entered Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas were forced to withdraw because of a white mob outside.

In 1962, New York’s Philharmonic Hall (since renamed Avery Fisher Hall) formally opened as the first unit of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

In 1973, former Argentine president Juan Peron won a landslide election victory that returned him to power.

Ten years ago: Space shuttle Atlantis left Russia’s orbiting Mir station with astronaut Shannon Lucid, who ended her six-month visit with tender goodbyes to her Russian colleagues. Ross Perot sued the bipartisan commission that voted to keep him out of the presidential debates, arguing that excluding him would deepen public cynicism and cause his campaign “incalculable damage.”

Five years ago: President Bush returned the American flag to full staff at Camp David, symbolically ending a period of national mourning. Thousands gathered at New York’s Yankee Stadium to offer prayers for the victims of terrorism; Mayor Rudolph Giuliani pledged that “our skyline will rise again.” Thirteen coal miners were killed in an explosion at the Blue Creek Mine in Brookwood, Ala.

One year ago: Hurricane Rita, down to Category 3, steamed toward refinery towns along the Texas-Louisiana coast, creating havoc even before it arrived: Levee breaks caused new flooding in New Orleans, and 23 people were killed when a bus carrying nursing-home evacuees caught fire in Texas. Embattled FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford abruptly resigned. Puerto Rican nationalist Filiberto Ojeda Rios, wanted in a 1983 robbery of a Connecticut armored truck, died during a gunbattle with FBI agents.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Mickey Rooney is 86. Singer Julio Iglesias is 63. Actor Paul Petersen (“The Donna Reed Show”) is 61. Actress-singer Mary Kay Place is 59. Rock star Bruce Springsteen is 57. Actor Jason Alexander is 47. Actor Chi McBride is 45. Actress Elizabeth Pena is 45. Country musician Don Herron (BR549) is 44. Actor Erik Todd Dellums is 42. Actress LisaRaye is 40. Singer Ani DiFranco is 36. Rock singer Sarah Bettens (K’s Choice) is 34. Recording executive Jermaine Dupri is 34. Pop singer Erik-Michael Estrada (“Making the Band”) is 27.

Thought for Today:
“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn

Stand shadowless like silence, listening

To silence.”

—Thomas Hood, English author (1799-1845).

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