Today is Wednesday, Sept. 22, the 266th day of 2004 with 100 to follow.
This is the first day of autumn.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Jupiter. The evening stars are Pluto, Uranus and Neptune
Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include English statesman and wit Philip Dormer Stanhope, Earl of Chesterfield, in 1694; English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday in 1791; filmmaker Eric Von Stroheim in 1885; humorist Frank Sullivan in 1892; actor Paul Muni in 1895; producer/actor John Houseman in 1902; actor Allan "Rocky" Lane, B-movie cowboy star of the 1940s and later the TV voice of Mr. Ed, in 1904; Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda in 1927 (age 76); actor Eugene Roche in 1928 (age 76); singers Debby Boone in 1956 (age 48) and Joan Jett in 1960 (age 44); and actors Scott Baio and Catherine Oxenberg, both in 1961 (age 43), and Bonnie Hunt in 1964 (age 40).
On this date in history:
In 1776, the British hanged American Revolutionary War hero and patriot Nathan Hale. His famous last words were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
In 1927, Jack Dempsey muffed a chance to regain the heavyweight championship when he knocked down Gene Tunney but failed to go to a neutral corner promptly, thereby delaying the referee's count and giving the champ time to get up.
In 1949, the U.S. nuclear monopoly ended as the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb.
In 1975, self-proclaimed revolutionary Sara Jane Moore attempted to kill President Ford as he walked from a San Francisco hotel. A bullet she fired slightly wounded a man in the crowd.
In 1980, long-standing border disputes and political turmoil in Iran prompted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to launch an invasion of Iran's oil-producing province of Khuzestan, touching off a costly, eight-year war.
In 1985, more than 50 rock and country stars, headed by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Cougar Mellencamp, staged the 14-hour Farm Aid concert for 78,000 rain-soaked spectators in Champaign, Ill., raising $10 million for debt-ridden U.S. farmers.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo slashed through Charleston and coastal South Carolina with 135-mph winds, claiming at least 28 lives.
Also in 1989, Irving Berlin, whose long list of enduring songs include "God Bless America" and "White Christmas," died in his sleep at his home in New York City at the age of 101.
In 1992, two beluga whales at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium died shortly after being given medication for parasites. Animal rights groups called for a nationwide moratorium on whale captures.
In 1993, President Clinton unveiled his health-care reform package in a speech before a joint session of Congress.
Also in 1993, John Demjanjuk left Israel to return to the United States, nearly two months after his conviction on war crimes was overturned.
In 1999, the U.S. Justice Department sued five major American tobacco companies and two defunct lobbying groups, charging they colluded to defraud the public about the addictive nature of tobacco products. The lawsuit sought to recover expenditures by Medicare and by veterans' and federal employees' health plans.
In 2003, a bomb exploded outside the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, killing the bomber and a guard and wounding 19. Three days later, the U.N. said it was withdrawing more staff from Iraq.
A thought for the day: U.S. author and writing teacher Brenda Ueland wrote, "...all children have creative power."