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Today in history: September 10

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

Today is Saturday, Sept. 10, the 253rd day of 2005. There are 112 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
Fifty years ago, on Sept. 10, 1955, the long-running TV Western series “Gunsmoke,” starring James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon, premiered on CBS television.

On this date:
In 1608, John Smith was elected president of the Jamestown colony council in Virginia.

In 1813, an American naval force commanded by Oliver H. Perry defeated the British in the Battle of Lake Erie in the War of 1812.

In 1846, Elias Howe received a patent for his sewing machine.

In 1919, New York City welcomed home Gen. John J. Pershing and 25,000 soldiers who had served in the U.S. First Division during World War I.

In 1939, Canada declared war on Nazi Germany.

In 1945, Vidkun Quisling was sentenced to death in Norway for collaborating with the Nazis (he was executed by firing squad in October 1945).

In 1948, American-born Mildred Gillars, accused of being Nazi wartime radio broadcaster Axis Sally, was indicted in Washington D.C. for treason. (She was later convicted, and served 12 years in prison.)

In 1963, 20 black students entered Alabama public schools following a standoff between federal authorities and Gov. George C. Wallace.

In 1977, convicted murderer Hamida Djandoubi, a Tunisian immigrant, became the last person to date to be executed by the guillotine in France.

In 2003, Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, 46, was stabbed in a Stockholm department store; she died the next day.

Ten years ago: A plane carrying members of a skydivers club crashed in Shacklefords, Va., killing 10 parachutists, the plane’s pilot and a man on the ground. NBC’s “ER” won eight Emmy Awards, but lost best dramatic series to ABC’s “NYPD Blue”; NBC’s “Frasier” won five awards, including best comedy series.

Five years ago: The space shuttle Atlantis docked with the international space station. Controversial basketball coach Bob Knight was fired by Indiana University for what was called a pattern of unacceptable behavior. Marat Safin beat Pete Sampras 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 to become the first Russian to win the U.S. Open. Tiger Woods won the Canadian Open by one stroke over Grant Waite. NBC’s “The West Wing” won a record-setting nine Emmy awards, including best drama series; NBC’s “Will and Grace” won best comedy.

One year ago: CBS News vigorously defended its report about President Bush’s Air National Guard service, with anchor Dan Rather saying broadcast memos questioned by forensic experts came from “what we consider to be solid sources.” (An independent panel later concluded that documents used in the story could not be verified.) Former transportation secretary Brock Adams died in Stevensville, Md., at age 77.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Robert Wise is 91. Golfer Arnold Palmer is 76. Country singer Tommy Overstreet is 68. Actor Greg Mullavey is 66. Jazz vibraphonist Roy Ayers is 65. Singer Danny Hutton (Three Dog Night) is 63. Singer Jose Feliciano is 60. Actor Tom Ligon is 60. Actress Judy Geeson is 57. Rock musician Joe Perry (Aerosmith) is 55. Actress Amy Irving is 52. Country singer Rosie Flores is 49. Actress Kate Burton is 48. Movie director Chris Columbus is 47. Actor Colin Firth is 45. Rock singer-musician David Lowery (Cracker) is 45. Rock musician Robin Goodridge (Bush) is 39. Rock singer-musician Miles Zuniga (Fastball) is 39. Rapper Big Daddy Kane is 37. Movie director Guy Ritchie is 37. Actor Ryan Phillippe is 31.

Thought for Today: “History is a pageant and not a philosopher.” — Augustine Birrell, English author and statesman (1850-1933).