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Today in history: September 15

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

Today is Thursday, September 15th, the 258th day of 2005. There are 107 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On September 15th, 1789, the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State.

On this date:
In 1776, British forces occupied New York City during the American Revolution.

In 1821, independence was proclaimed for Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador.

In 1857, William Howard Taft — who served as president of the United States and as U.S. chief justice — was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1917, Russia was proclaimed a republic by Alexander Kerensky, the head of a provisional government.

In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of their citizenship and made the swastika the official symbol of Nazi Germany.

In 1940, during the Battle of Britain in World War Two, the tide turned as the Luftwaffe sustained heavy losses inflicted by the Royal Air Force.

In 1950, during the Korean conflict, United Nations forces landed at Inchon in the south and began their drive toward Seoul.

In 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev arrived in the U.S. to begin a 13-day visit.

In 1963, four black girls were killed when a bomb went off during Sunday services at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. (Three Ku Klux Klansmen were eventually convicted for their roles in the blast.)

In 1965, the TV shows “Lost in Space” and “Green Acres” premiered on CBS.

Ten years ago: Hurricane Marilyn, the third major storm to batter the Caribbean in less than a month, hit the Virgin Islands with heavy rains and 100 mile-an-hour winds. The U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women adjourned in Beijing after approving a wide-ranging platform running the gamut from promoting inheritance rights to condemning rape in wartime.

Five years ago: The 2000 Summer Olympics opened in Sydney, Australia, with a seemingly endless parade of athletes and coaches and a spectacular display; Aborigine runner Cathy Freeman ignited an Olympic ring of fire.

One year ago: Three Americans were found guilty of torturing Afghans in a private jail and sentenced to prison. National Hockey League owners agreed to lock out the players. Johnny Ramone, guitarist and co-founder of the seminal punk band The Ramones, died in Los Angeles at age 55.

Today’s Birthdays: Bluesman Snooky Pryor is 84. Actor-director Jackie Cooper is 83. Actor Forrest Compton is 80. Comedian Norm Crosby is 78. Actor Henry Darrow is 72. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Gaylord Perry is 67. Football Hall-of-Famer Merlin Olsen is 65. Opera singer Jessye Norman is 60. Actor Tommy Lee Jones is 59. Movie director Oliver Stone is 59. Actress Wendie Jo Sperber is 47. Rock musician Mitch Dorge (Crash Test Dummies) is 45. Football Hall-of-Famer Dan Marino is 44. Actor Danny Nucci is 37. Rap DJ Kay Gee is 36. Rock musician Allen Shellenberger (Lit) is 36. Actor Josh Charles is 34. Singer Ivette Sosa (Eden’s Crush) is 29. Actress Amy Davidson is 26. Britain’s Prince Henry of Wales is 21.

Thought for Today: “Somewhere the Sky touches the Earth, and the name of that place is the End.” — African saying.