Today is Thursday, Sept. 2, the 246th day of 2004. There are 120 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 2, 1945, Japan formally surrendered in ceremonies aboard the USS Missouri, ending World War II.

On this date:

In 1666, the Great Fire of London broke out, claiming thousands of homes, but only a few lives.

In 1789, the United States Treasury Department was established.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Gen. William T. Sherman's forces occupied Atlanta.

In 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt offered the advice, "Speak softly and carry a big stick" in a speech at the Minnesota State Fair.

In 1924, the Rudolf Friml operetta "Rose Marie" opened on Broadway.

In 1944, during World War II, Navy pilot George Herbert Walker Bush was shot down by Japanese forces as he completed a bombing run over the Bonin Islands. (Bush was rescued by the crew of the U.S. submarine Finback; his two crew members, however, died.)

In 1945, Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam an independent republic.

In 1963, Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace prevented the integration of Tuskegee High School by encircling the building with state troopers.

In 1969, North Vietnamese president Ho Chi Minh died.

In 1998, a Swissair MD-11 jetliner crashed off Nova Scotia, killing all 229 people aboard.

Ten years ago: The government reported the nation's unemployment rate for August was unchanged from July, at 6.1 percent.

Five years ago: It was announced that President and Mrs. Clinton had signed a contract to purchase a $1.7 million house in Chappaqua, N.Y., ending a months-long guessing game over where the couple would live after leaving the White House.

One year ago: A court in Jakarta, Indonesia, sentenced Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir to four years in prison for sedition, but threw out charges that he belonged to al-Qaida's main Asian ally. A federal appeals court in San Francisco threw out more than 100 death sentences in Arizona, Montana and Idaho because the inmates had been sent to death row by judges instead of juries.

Today's Birthdays: Dancer-actress Marge Champion is 85. Jazz musician Horace Silver is 76. Former Sen. Alan K. Simpson, R-Wyo., is 73. Former Baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth is 67. Rhythm and blues singer Sam Gooden (The Impressions) is 65. Singer Jimmy Clanton is 64. Rhythm and blues singer Rosalind Ashford (Martha & the Vandellas) is 61. Singer Joe Simon is 61. Football Hall-of-Famer Terry Bradshaw is 56. Actor Mark Harmon is 53. Tennis player Jimmy Connors is 52. Actress Linda Purl is 49. Rock musician Jerry Augustyniak (10,000 Maniacs) is 46. Country musician Paul Deakin (The Mavericks) is 45. Actor Keanu Reeves is 40. Actress Kristen Cloke is 36. Actress Salma Hayek is 36. Actress Cynthia Watros is 36. Rhythm and blues singer K-Ci is 35. Singer Tony Thompson is 29. Rock musician Sam Rivers (Limp Bizkit) is 27.

Thought for Today: "Integrity needs no rules." - Albert Camus, French author and philosopher (1913-1960).

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