Today is Monday, Sept. 14, the 257th day of 2009. There are 108 days left in the year.
On Sept. 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write a poem after witnessing how Fort McHenry in Maryland had endured a night of British bombardment during the War of 1812; that poem, originally called "Defence of Fort McHenry," later became the lyrics to "The Star-Spangled Banner," the American national anthem.
On this date:
In 1812, the Russians set fire to Moscow in the face of an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte's troops.
In 1836, former Vice President Aaron Burr died in Staten Island, N.Y., at age 80.
In 1847, during the Mexican-American War, U.S. forces under Gen. Winfield Scott took control of Mexico City.
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 1948, a groundbreaking ceremony took place in New York at the site of the United Nations' world headquarters.
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 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, was killed by a bomb.
In 1988, Hurricane Gilbert slammed into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula as a Category 5 storm after forcing thousands of residents to flee.
Ten years ago: Indonesian soldiers looted the abandoned U.N. mission in East Timor, just hours after 110 U.N. personnel and 1,300 East Timorese were evacuated and flown to safety to end a 10-day siege. Hurricane Floyd clobbered the Bahamas, toppling power lines, ripping roofs off homes and pushing a roiling sea into streets before heading toward the southeastern United States.
Five 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.
One year ago: Losing its devastating punch as a major hurricane, Ike nevertheless drubbed the Midwest with powerful winds and floodwaters. Carlos Zambrano pitched the first no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs in 36 years, striking out 10 in a 5-0 win over Houston in a game relocated to Milwaukee because of Hurricane Ike.
Today's Birthdays: Actress Zoe Caldwell is 76. Feminist author Kate Millett is 75. Actor Walter Koenig is 73. Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown is 69. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 65. Actor Sam Neill is 62. Singer Jon "Bowzer" Bauman (Sha Na Na) is 62. Rock musician Ed King is 60. Rock musician Steve Berlin (Los Lobos) is 54. Country singer-songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman is 53. Actress Mary Crosby is 50. Singer Morten Harket (a-ha) is 50. Country singer John Berry is 50. Actress Melissa Leo is 49. Actress Faith Ford is 45. Actor Jamie Kaler is 45. Actress Michelle Stafford is 44. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is 44. Rock musician Mike Cooley (Drive-By Truckers) is 43. Actor Dan Cortese is 41. Contemporary Christian singer Mark Hall is 40. Actor Ben Garant is 39. Rock musician Craig Montoya (Tri Polar) is 39. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 38. Rapper Nas is 36. Country singer Danielle Peck is 31. Pop singer Ayo is 29. Singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse is 26. Actor Adam Lamberg is 25.
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 I of Belgium (1930-1993).