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Today in History

Today is Friday, Sept. 13, the 256th day of 2019. There are 109 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 13, 2001, two days after the 9/11 terror attacks, the first few jetliners returned to the nation’s skies, but several major airports remained closed and others opened only briefly. President George W. Bush visited injured Pentagon workers and said he would carry the nation’s prayers to New York.

On this date:

In 1788, the Congress of the Confederation authorized the first national election, and declared New York City the temporary national capital.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British naval forces began bombarding Fort McHenry in Baltimore but were driven back by American defenders in a battle that lasted until the following morning.

In 1860, General of the Armies of the United States John J. Pershing was born in Laclede, Mo.

In 1948, Republican Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was elected to the U.S. Senate; she became the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.

In 1962, Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett rejected the U.S. Supreme Court’s order for the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, a black student, declaring in a televised address, “We will not drink from the cup of genocide.”

In 1971, a four-day inmates’ rebellion at the Attica Correctional Facility in western New York ended as police and guards stormed the prison; the ordeal and final assault claimed the lives of 32 inmates and 11 hostages.

In 1993, at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat shook hands after signing an accord granting limited Palestinian autonomy.

In 1996, rapper Tupac Shakur died at a Las Vegas hospital six days after he was wounded in a drive-by shooting; he was 25.

In 1997, funeral services were held in Calcutta, India, for Nobel peace laureate Mother Teresa.

In 1998, former Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace died in Montgomery at age 79.

In 2008, rescue crews ventured out to pluck people from their homes in an all-out search for thousands of Texans who had stubbornly stayed behind overnight to face Hurricane Ike.

In 2017, firefighters who were called to a sweltering nursing home in Hollywood, Florida, where air conditioning had been knocked out by Hurricane Irma found three people dead and evacuated 145 others to hospitals; five others died later in the day. Former Republican Sen. Pete Domenici (doh-MEN’-ih-chee), New Mexico’s longest-serving senator, died in Albuquerque at the age of 85.

Ten years ago: The body of missing Yale University graduate student Annie Le (lay) was found behind a research lab wall on what would have been her wedding day. (A lab technician, Raymond Clark III, was later sentenced to 44 years in prison for murdering Le.) Kim Clijsters, capping a comeback from two years out of tennis, became the first unseeded woman to win the U.S. Open as she defeated No. 9 Caroline Wozniacki, 7-5, 6-3. At the MTV Video Music Awards, Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech for best female video for “You Belong with Me” was disrupted by Kanye West, who took the microphone to praise Beyonce’s video of “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).”

Five years ago: Islamic State extremists released a video showing the beheading of British aid worker David Haines, who had been abducted in Syria the previous year; British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the slaying as “an act of pure evil.” Former baseball player Frank Torre, who’d played seven seasons in the majors with the Milwaukee Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, died in Palm Beach, Florida, at age 82.

One year ago: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said she had notified federal investigators about information she received concerning Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh from a person who “strongly requested confidentiality.” (The person was Christine Blasey Ford, who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by Kavanaugh when they were teens.) President Donald Trump dismissed the finding of public health experts who estimated that nearly 3,000 people had died in Puerto Rico from the effects of Hurricane Maria. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo easily beat back a Democratic primary challenge from activist and actress Cynthia Nixon. A series of gas explosions in three towns north of Boston killed a teen driver in his car, injured more than two dozen others and left dozens of homes in ruins.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Barbara Bain is 88. Actress Eileen Fulton (TV: “As the World Turns”) is 86. Actor Joe E. Tata is 83. TV producer Fred Silverman is 82. Rock singer David Clayton-Thomas (Blood, Sweat & Tears) is 78. Actress Jacqueline Bisset is 75. Singer Peter Cetera is 75. Actress Christine Estabrook is 69. Actress Jean Smart is 68. Singer Randy Jones (The Village People) is 67. Record producer Don Was is 67. Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr. is 65. Actress-comedian Geri Jewell is 63. Country singer Bobbie Cryner is 58. Rock singer-musician Dave Mustaine (Megadeth) is 58. Radio-TV personality Tavis Smiley is 55. Rock musician Zak Starkey is 54. Actor/comedian Jeff Ross is 54. Actor Louis Mandylor is 53. Olympic gold medal runner Michael Johnson is 52. Rock musician Steve Perkins is 52. Actor Roger Howarth is 51. Actor Dominic Fumusa is 50. Actress Louise Lombard is 49. Tennis player Goran Ivanisevic (ee-van-EE’-seh-vihch) is 48. Country singer Aaron Benward (Blue County) is 46. Country musician Joe Don Rooney (Rascal Flatts) is 44. Actor Scott Vickaryous is 44. Singer Fiona Apple is 42. Contemporary Christian musician Hector Cervantes (Casting Crowns) is 39. Former MLB pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is 39. Actor Ben Savage is 39. Rock singer Niall Horan (One Direction) is 26. Actor Mitch Holleman is 24. Actress Lili Reinhart (TV: “Riverdale”) is 23.

Thought for Today: “‘Be yourself’ is about the worst advice you can give to some people.” — J.B. Priestley, British novelist (born this date in 1894, died 1984).

Copyright 2019, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.