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September 14, 2014 07:09 GMT

Today is Sunday, Sept. 14, the 257th day of 2014. There are 108 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired to begin writing the poem "Defence of Fort McHenry" after witnessing how an American flag flying over the Maryland fort had withstood a night of British bombardment during the War of 1812; the poem later became the words to "The Star-Spangled Banner."

On this date:

In 1861, the first naval engagement of the Civil War took place as the USS Colorado attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Florida.

In 1901, President William McKinley died in Buffalo, New York, of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin; Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.

In 1914, actor Clayton Moore, TV's "Lone Ranger," was born in Chicago.

In 1927, modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice (nees), France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of the sports car she was riding in.

In 1944, the Great Atlantic Hurricane passed close to North Carolina and Virginia before heading up the northeastern U.S. coast; nearly 400 people died, most at sea.

In 1954, the Soviet Union detonated a 40-kiloton atomic test weapon.

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.) The submarine adventure series "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" premiered on ABC-TV.

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; Lebanon's president-elect, Bashir Gemayel (bah-SHEER' jeh-MAY'-el), was killed by a bomb.

In 1984, the first MTV Video Music Awards were held at New York's Radio City Music Hall; The Cars won Video of the Year for "You Might Think," but singer Madonna stole the show with a provocative performance of her yet-to-be released single "Like a Virgin."

In 1989, Madonna divorced actor Sean Penn after four years of marriage.

In 1994, on the 34th day of a strike by players, Acting Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced the 1994 season was over.

Ten years ago: Guerrillas bombed a Baghdad shopping street full of police recruits and fired on a police van north of the capital, killing some 60 people. President George W. 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.

Five years ago: Lecturing Wall Street on its own turf, President Barack Obama warned financial leaders not to use the recovering economy to race back into "reckless behavior" that could cause a new meltdown. Death claimed "Dirty Dancing" star Patrick Swayze at 57; former White House press secretary Jody Powell at age 65; and comic character actor Henry Gibson at age 73. Roger Federer let the U.S. Open championship slip from his grasp two points from victory as sixth-seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina won his first Grand Slam title by upsetting the No. 1-seeded Federer 3-6, 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-2.

One year ago: A diplomatic breakthrough on securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, negotiated by the U.S. and Russia, averted the threat of U.S. military action.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Zoe Caldwell is 81. Feminist author Kate Millett is 80. Actor Walter Koenig (KAY'-nihg) is 78. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown is 74. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 70. Actor Sam Neill is 67. Singer Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (Sha Na Na) is 67. Rock musician Ed King is 65. Actor Robert Wisdom is 61. Rock musician Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) is 59. Country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman is 58. Actress Mary Crosby is 55. Singer Morten Harket (a-ha) is 55. Country singer John Berry is 55. Actress Melissa Leo is 54. Actress Faith Ford is 50. Actor Jamie Kaler is 50. Actress Michelle Stafford is 49. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is 49. Rock musician Mike Cooley (Drive-By Truckers) is 48. Actor Dan Cortese is 47. Contemporary Christian singer Mark Hall is 45. Actor-writer-director-producer Tyler Perry is 45. Actor Ben Garant is 44. Rock musician Craig Montoya (Tri Polar) is 44. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 43. Actor Andrew Lincoln is 41. Rapper Nas is 41. Actor Austin Basis is 38. Country singer Danielle Peck is 36. Pop singer Ayo is 34. Actor Sebastian Sozzi is 32. Actor Adam Lamberg is 30. Singer Alex Clare is 29. Actress Jessica Brown Findlay is 27. Actor-singer Logan Henderson is 25.

Thought for Today: "Civilizations die from philosophical calm, irony, and the sense of fair play quite as surely as they die of debauchery." -- Joseph Wood Krutch, American author, critic and educator (1893-1970).

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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