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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 Wednesday, September 14th, the 257th day of 2005. There are 108 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On September 14th, 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote 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 1901, President McKinley died in Buffalo, New York, 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 1940, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, providing for the first peacetime draft in U.S. history.

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

In 1965, the situation comedy “My Mother the Car” premiered on NBC TV.

In 1975, Pope Paul the Sixth 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 Reverend Benjamin Weir after holding him captive for 16 months.

In 1985, the situation comedy “The Golden Girls” premiered on NBC.

Ten years ago: NATO called a temporary halt to its aerial pounding of Serb rebels while a U-S envoy tried to clinch an agreement on withdrawing the Serbs’ big guns from around Sarajevo.

Five years ago: President Clinton said he was “quite troubled” by the way the Energy and Justice departments had handled the Wen Ho Lee case, and he expressed his regrets. Government scientists narrowly rejected a proposal to ease the ban on gay male blood donors, citing uncertainty over whether the move would increase the AIDS risk to the nation’s blood supply.

One year ago: Guerrillas bombed a Baghdad shopping street full of police recruits and fired on a police van north of the capital, killing a total of at least 59 people. President Bush told veterans in Las Vegas he was proud of his time in the Texas Air National Guard as he sought to deflect questions about his Vietnam-era service.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Zoe Caldwell is 72. Actor Harve Presnell is 72. Feminist author Kate Millett is 71. Actor Walter Koenig is 69. Actor Nicol Williamson is 67. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 61. Actor Sam Neill is 58. Singer Jon “Bowser” Bauman is 58. Singer Barry Cowsill is 51. Rock musician Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) is 50. Country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman is 49. Actress Mary Crosby is 46. Singer Morten Harket (a-ha) is 46. Country singer John Berry is 46. Actress Faith Ford is 41. Actor Dan Cortese is 37. Rock musician Craig Montoya (Tri Polar) is 35. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 34. Rapper Nas is 32. Actor Adam Lamberg is 21.

Thought for Today: “America has been called a melting pot, but it seems better to call it a mosaic, for in it each nation, people or race which has come to its shores has been privileged to keep its individuality, contributing at the same time its share to the unified pattern of a new nation.” — King Baudouin the First of Belgium (1930-1993).