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Friday Morning: Today in History

Today is Friday, Sept. 14, the 258th day of 2012. There are 108 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

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

On this date:

In 1712, Italian-born French astronomer Gian Domenico Cassini, discoverer of four of Saturn's moons, died in Paris.

In 1812, Napoleon Bonaparte's troops entered Moscow following the Battle of Borodino to find the Russian city largely abandoned and parts set ablaze.

In 1829, the Treaty of Adrianople was signed, ending war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire.

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, Fla.

In 1901, President William 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 the sports car she was riding in.

In 1941, Vermont passed a resolution enabling its servicemen to receive wartime bonuses by declaring the U.S. to be in a state of armed conflict, giving rise to headlines that Vermont had "declared war on Germany."

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 1972, the family drama "The Waltons" premiered on CBS.

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, was killed by a bomb.

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, appeared together on radio and television to appeal for a "national crusade" against drug abuse.

In 1991, the government of South Africa, the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party signed a national peace pact.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, welcoming Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to Camp David, said the United States was willing to take on Iraq alone if the United Nations failed to "show some backbone" by confronting Saddam Hussein.

Five years ago: Defense Secretary Robert Gates raised the possibility of cutting U.S. troop levels in Iraq to 100,000 by the end of 2008, well beyond the cuts President George W. Bush had approved. In Iraq, some 1,500 mourners called for revenge as they buried the leader of the Sunni revolt against al-Qaida, Adbul-Sattar Abu Risha, who had been assassinated by a bomb claimed by an al-Qaida front.

One year ago: President Barack Obama urged enthusiastic college students at North Carolina State University to join him in his fight to get Congress to act on his new jobs bill. A key government panel released a report saying that BP bore ultimate responsibility for the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Zoe Caldwell is 79. Feminist author Kate Millett is 78. Actor Walter Koenig is 76. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown is 72. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 68. Actor Sam Neill is 65. Singer Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (Sha Na Na) is 65. Rock musician Ed King is 63. Actor Robert Wisdom is 59. Rock musician Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) is 57. Country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman is 56. Actress Mary Crosby is 53. Singer Morten Harket is 53. Country singer John Berry is 53. Actress Melissa Leo is 52. Actress Faith Ford is 48. Actor Jamie Kaler is 48. Actress Michelle Stafford is 47. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is 47. Rock musician Mike Cooley (Drive-By Truckers) is 46. Actor Dan Cortese is 45. Contemporary Christian singer Mark Hall is 43. Actor-writer-director-producer Tyler Perry is 43. Actor Ben Garant is 42. Rock musician Craig Montoya (Tri Polar) is 42. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 41. Rapper Nas is 39. Actor Austin Basis is 36. Country singer Danielle Peck is 34. Pop singer Ayo is 32. Actor Sebastian Sozzi is 30. Actor Adam Lamberg is 28. Actor-singer Logan Henderson is 23.

Thought for Today: "I venture to suggest that patriotism is not a short and frenzied outburst of emotion but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson, American statesman (1900-1965).

Copyright 2012. The Associated Press.


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