Today is Monday, Aug. 9, the 222nd day of 2004. There are 144 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, the United States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.

On this date:

In 1790, the Columbia returned to Boston Harbor after a three-year voyage, becoming the first ship to carry the American flag around the world.

In 1842, the United States and Canada resolved a border dispute by signing the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

In 1848, the Free-Soil Party nominated Martin Van Buren for president at its convention in Buffalo, N.Y.

In 1854, 150 years ago, Henry David Thoreau published "Walden," which described his experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

In 1902, Edward VII was crowned king of England following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

In 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics as the United States took first place in the 400-meter relay.

In 1944, 258 black American sailors based at Port Chicago, Calif., refused to load a munitions ship following the explosion of another ship that killed 320 men, two-thirds of them black. (The sailors were court-martialed, fined and imprisoned for their refusal.)

In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found brutally murdered in Tate's Los Angeles home; cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his disciples were later convicted of the crime.

In 1974, 30 years ago, President Nixon's resignation took effect. Vice President Gerald R. Ford became the nation's 38th chief executive.

In 1988, President Reagan nominated Lauro Cavazos to be secretary of education; Cavazos became the first Hispanic to serve in the Cabinet.

Ten years ago: A divided Senate opened formal debate on legislation to provide health insurance for millions of Americans without it.

Five years ago: Russian President Boris Yeltsin dismissed Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin and the entire Cabinet, marking the fourth time in 17 months he had fired the government. Yeltsin named Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, the new prime minister.

One year ago: The Army fired up its first chemical weapons incinerator located near a residential area, outside Anniston, Ala., to destroy two rockets loaded with enough sarin nerve agent to wipe out a city. Dancer-actor Gregory Hines died in Los Angeles at age 57.

Today's Birthdays: Former baseball manager Ralph Houk is 85. Country singer-songwriter Merle Kilgore is 70. Rhythm and blues singer Billy Henderson (The Spinners) is 65. Jazz musician Jack DeJohnette is 62. Comedian-director David Steinberg is 62. Actor Sam Elliott is 60. Boxing Hall-of-Famer Ken Norton is 59. Singer Barbara Mason is 57. Actress Melanie Griffith is 47. Actress Amanda Bearse is 46. Rapper Kurtis Blow is 45. Singer Aimee Mann is 44. Singer Whitney Houston is 41. Actor Pat Petersen is 38. Football player Deion Sanders is 37. Actress Gillian Anderson is 36. Actor Eric Bana is 36. Rock musician Arion Salazar (Third Eye Blind) is 34. Rapper Mack 10 is 33. Actress Liz Vassey is 32. Actress Jessica Capshaw is 28.

Thought for Today: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." - Henry David Thoreau, American author (1817-1862).

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