Today is Saturday, Sept. 18, the 262nd day of 2004. There are 104 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 18, 1947, the National Security Act, which unified the Army, Navy and newly formed Air Force into a National Military Establishment, went into effect.

On this date:

In 1759, the French formally surrendered Quebec to the British.

In 1793, President Washington laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol.

In 1810, Chile declared its independence from Spain.

In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act, which allowed slaveowners to reclaim slaves who had escaped to other states.

In 1851, the first edition of The New York Times was published.

In 1927, the Columbia Phonograph Broadcasting System (later CBS) made its debut with a network of 16 radio stations.

In 1961, United Nations Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was killed in a plane crash in northern Rhodesia.

In 1963, "The Patty Duke Show" premiered on ABC.

In 1970, rock star Jimi Hendrix died in London at age 27.

In 1975, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was captured by the FBI in San Francisco, 19 months after being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army.

Ten years ago: Haiti's military leaders agreed to an Oct. 15 departure deadline, thereby averting a U.S.-led invasion to force them from power. Tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis, 40, was found dead in the guest cottage of a friend's home in Southampton, N.Y., of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Five years ago: A multinational fleet sailed toward East Timor, the vanguard of a U.N.-approved force assigned to bring order to the bloodied Indonesian province. Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs became the first player in major league baseball history to reach 60 homers twice. Heather Renee French of Kentucky was crowned Miss America.

One year ago: Hurricane Isabel plowed into North Carolina's Outer Banks with 100-mph winds and pushed its way up the Eastern Seaboard; the storm was later blamed for 40 deaths.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Leon Askin is 97. Actor Jack Warden is 84. Actor Robert Blake is 71. Singer Jimmie Rodgers is 71. Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, is 71. Actor Fred Willard is 65. Singer Frankie Avalon is 64. Rock musician Kerry Livgren is 55. Actress Anna Deavere Smith is 54. Actor James Gandolfini is 43. Singer Joanne Catherall (Human League) is 42. Actress Holly Robinson Peete is 40. Rhythm and blues singer Ricky Bell (Bell Biv Devoe and New Edition) is 37. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith is 33. Actor James Marsden is 31. Actress Alison Lohman is 25. Actors Taylor Porter and Brandon Porter ("Party of Five") are 11.

Thought for Today: "I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn't mind being pitied. If you love me, pity me." - Jessamyn West, American author (1902-1984).

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