Today is Thursday, Sept. 23, the 267th day of 2004. There are 99 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 23, 1779, during the Revolutionary War, the American warship "Bon Homme Richard" defeated the HMS Serapis after the American commander, John Paul Jones, is said to have declared: "I have not yet begun to fight!"

On this date:

In 1642, Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., held its first commencement.

In 1780, British spy John Andre was captured along with papers revealing Benedict Arnold's plot to surrender West Point to the British.

In 1806, the Lewis and Clark expedition returned to St. Louis from the Pacific Northwest.

In 1846, the planet Neptune was discovered by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle.

In 1938, a time capsule, to be opened in the year 6939, was buried on the grounds of the World's Fair in New York City.

In 1939, Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, died in London.

In 1952, Republican vice-presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon went on television to deliver what came to be known as the "Checkers" speech as he refuted allegations of improper campaign financing.

In 1957, nine black students who had entered Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas were forced to withdraw because of a white mob outside.

In 1962, New York's Philharmonic Hall (since renamed Avery Fisher Hall) formally opened as the first unit of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.

In 1973, former Argentine president Juan Peron was returned to power.

Ten years ago: The U.N. Security Council rewarded Yugoslavia for sealing its border with Bosnia by easing sanctions in sports, cultural exchanges and air traffic. The White House announced a major shakeup involving two dozen staff members.

Five years ago: President Clinton vetoed the Republicans' $792-billion tax cut bill, calling it "too big, too bloated." The Mars Climate Observer apparently burned up as it was about to go into orbit around the Red Planet.

One year ago: Speaking at the United Nations, President Bush rejected calls from France and Germany to hasten the transfer of power in Iraq, insisting the shift to self-government could be "neither hurried nor delayed." A federal appeals court unanimously put California's recall election back on the calendar for Oct. 11.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Mickey Rooney is 84. Singer Julio Iglesias is 61. Actor Paul Petersen ("The Donna Reed Show") is 59. Actress-singer Mary Kay Place is 57. Rock star Bruce Springsteen is 55. Actor Jason Alexander is 45. Actor Chi McBride ("Boston Public") is 43. Actress Elizabeth Pena is 43. Country musician Don Herron (BR549) is 42. Actor Erik Todd Dellums is 40. Singer Ani DiFranco is 34. Rock singer Sarah Bettens (K's Choice) is 32. Recording executive Jermaine Dupri is 32. Pop singer Erik-Michael Estrada ("Making the Band") is 25.

Thought for Today: "Each generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it." - George Orwell (Eric Blair), British author (1903-1950).

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