updated 9/3/2007 12:52:27 AM ET 2007-09-03T04:52:27

BC-History-Sept 2,0619

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Sept. 2, the 245th day of 2007. There are 120 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered in ceremonies aboard the USS Missouri, ending World War II.

On this date:

In 1666, the Great Fire of London broke out, claiming thousands of homes.

In 1789, the U.S. Treasury Department was established.

In 1807, British forces began bombarding Copenhagen for several days, until the Danes agreed to surrender their naval fleet.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman’s forces occupied Atlanta.

In 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt offered the advice, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair.

In 1930, the first nonstop airplane flight from Europe to the United States was completed in 37 hours as Capt. Dieudonne Costes and Maurice Bellonte of France arrived in Valley Stream, N.Y., aboard a Breguet biplane. (The plane was known as “The Question Mark” because it bore the image of the punctuation sign on its side.)

In 1935, a hurricane slammed into the Florida Keys, claiming more than 400 lives.

In 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam an independent republic.

In 1969, North Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh died.

In 1998, a Swissair MD-11 jetliner crashed off Nova Scotia, killing all 229 people aboard.

Ten years ago: In London, a grieving human tide engulfed St. James’s Palace, where Princess Diana’s body lay in a chapel closed to the public, as the British monarchy and government prepared for her funeral. The White House announced that first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton would attend on behalf of the United States.

Five years ago: Negotiators at the World Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, put the finishing touches on a global plan to improve the lives of the poor while preserving the environment. Glenn Tilton was named chairman, president and CEO of United Airlines parent UAL Corp.

One year ago: Afghan and NATO forces launched Operation Medusa, aimed at flushing out Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan; 14 British servicemen were killed when their patrol plane crashed. Two-time Olympic decathlon champion and four-term California congressman Bob Mathias died in Fresno, Calif., at age 75.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Meinhardt Raabe (the Munchkin coroner in “The Wizard of Oz”) is 92. Dancer-actress Marge Champion is

88. Jazz musician Horace Silver is 79. Former Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., is 76. U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth is

70. Rhythm-and-blues singer Sam Gooden (The Impressions) is 68. Singer Jimmy Clanton is 67. Rhythm-and-blues singer Rosalind Ashford (Martha & the Vandellas) is 64. Singer Joe Simon is 64. Football Hall-of-Famer Terry Bradshaw is 59. Actor Mark Harmon is

56. Tennis Hall-of-Famer Jimmy Connors is 55. Actress Linda Purl is

52. Rock musician Jerry Augustyniak (10,000 Maniacs) is 49. Country musician Paul Deakin (The Mavericks) is 48. Actor Keanu Reeves is

43. Actress Salma Hayek is 41. Actress Kristen Cloke is 39. Actress Cynthia Watros is 39. Rhythm-and-blues singer K-Ci is 38. Actor Michael Lombardi is 33. Rock musician Sam Rivers (Limp Bizkit) is

30. Rock musician Spencer Smith (Panic! at the Disco) is 20.

Thought for Today: “The readings of history and anthropology in general give us no reason to believe that societies have built-in self-preservative systems. And therefore we can’t say that man will be sensible enough not to destroy himself.” — Margaret Mead, American anthropologist (1901-1978).

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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