The Almanac

By United Press International  |  Sept. 17, 2004 at 3:30 AM
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Today is Friday, Sept. 17, the 261st day of 2004 with 105 to follow.

The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Mars, Venus and Saturn. The evening stars are Jupiter, Pluto, Uranus and Neptune.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Virgo. They include 1940s radio news commentator Gabriel Heatter in 1890; U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger in 1907; country music pioneer Hank Williams Sr. in 1923; Sam Butera, tenor sax, bandleader, in 1927 (age 76); actor Roddy McDowall in 1928; actresses Anne Bancroft in 1931 (age 73) and Dorothy Loudon in 1933 (age 71); author Ken Kesey in 1935 (age 69); U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter in 1939 (age 66); pro basketball coach Phil Jackson in 1945 (age 59); cartoonist Jeff MacNelly in 1947; actor John Ritter in 1948; movie hostess Elvira, whose real name is Cassandra Peterson, in 1951 (age 53); and actress/comedian Rita Rudner in 1956 (age 48).

On this date in history:

In 1787, the United States Constitution, completed in Philadelphia, was signed by a majority of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

In 1862, Union forces led by Gen. George McClellan attacked Confederate troops led by Gen. Robert E. Lee near Antietam Creek in Maryland. McClellan blocked Lee's advance on Washington, D.C., but fell short of victory.

In 1939, Soviet troops invaded Poland, 16 days after Nazi Germany moved into the same country.

In 1976, NASA publicly unveiled its first space shuttle, the Enterprise, during a ceremony in Palmdale, Calif. Development of the aircraft-like spacecraft cost almost $10 billion and took nearly a decade.

In 1978, .Egyptian President Anwar el-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin signed the Camp David Accords, laying the groundwork for a permanent peace agreement between Egypt and Israel after three decades of hostilities.

In 1983, Vanessa Williams of New York became the first black to be named Miss America. (She resigned the crown 11 months later when Penthouse magazine published nude photos of her, but later became famous again as a singer and actress.)

In 1990, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney fired Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Dugan for "poor judgment" in publicly discussing U.S. bombing plans should war erupt with Iraq.

In 1991, North Korea, South Korea, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were admitted to the United Nations.

In 1992, the House passed a bill to re-regulate cable TV in a bid to encourage competition and slow rate increases.

In 1993, Cambodia's two leading political parties agreed that Prince Norodom Sihanouk would lead the nation. Sihanouk was installed as king a week later.

In 1994, President Clinton sent a three-man delegation headed by former President Carter to Haiti on what would prove a successful mission to persuade the ruling junta to step down.

In 1996, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced the debates would be limited to the two main party candidates. Reform Party candidate Ross Perot, who was on the ballot in all 50 states, protested.

In 1997, the Pentagon announced a one-day "stand-down" or suspension of all training flights, for safety instruction and a review of procedures, following a series of recent crashes involving U.S. military aircraft.

In 2001, President Bush said Osama bin Laden, the suspected ringleader in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was "wanted dead or alive" as Bush continued efforts to line up international support for his proposed "war on terror."

In 2002, President Bush asked Congress for authority to use force against Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said meanwhile that several nations had pledged military support for offensive action against Iraq.

In 2003, modifying earlier statements, President Bush said he had no evidence of a connection between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States.

A thought for the day: French aviator and writer Antoine-Marie, Roger de Saint-Exupery said, "Life has taught us that love does not consist of gazing at each other but in looking together in the same direction."

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