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Today in History — September 14

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, Sept. 14, the 257th day of 2007. 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 how Fort McHenry in Maryland had endured British bombardment 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 1847, U.S. forces under Gen. Winfield Scott took control of Mexico City.

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 II. (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.

Ten years ago: Overcoming fears of violence, Bosnians flooded polling stations to vote in local elections. At the 49th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, “Law and Order” won best drama series while “Frasier” again won best comedy series.

Five years ago: President Bush said the United States was willing to take on Iraq alone if the United Nations failed to “show some backbone” by confronting Saddam Hussein.

One year ago: An outbreak of E. coli illnesses in 26 states was traced to bagged spinach. Three men became the first rabbis ordained in Germany since World War II. Actor-bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay, husband of Jayne Mansfield and father of Mariska Hargitay, died in Los Angeles at age 80.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Zoe Caldwell is 74. Actor Harve Presnell is 74. Feminist author Kate Millett is 73. Actor Walter Koenig is 71. Actor Nicol Williamson is 69. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 63. Actor Sam Neill is 60. Singer Jon “Bowser” Bauman (Sha Na Na) is 60. Rock musician Ed King is 58. Rock musician Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) is 52. Country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman is 51. Actress Mary Crosby is 48. Singer Morten Harket (a-ha) is 48. Country singer John Berry is 48. Actress Melissa Leo is 47. Actress Faith Ford is 43. Actor Dan Cortese is 39. Contemporary Christian singer Mark Hall is 38. Rock musician Craig Montoya (Tri Polar) is 37. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 36. Rapper Nas is 34. Country singer Danielle Peck is 29. Singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse is 24. Actor Adam Lamberg is 23.

Thought for Today: “Keep your mouth shut, your eyes open.” — Japanese proverb.