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This day in history

Friday, Sept. 14, is the 258th day of 2012. There are 108 days left in the year.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Zoe Caldwell is 79. Actor Walter Koenig is 76. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown is 72. Singer-actress Joey Heatherton is 68. Actor Sam Neill is 65. Singer Jon ‘‘Bowzer’’ Bauman (Sha Na Na) is 65. Actress Melissa Leo is 52. Actress Faith Ford is 48. Rock musician Mike Cooley (Drive-By Truckers) is 46. Actor Dan Cortese is 45. Actor-writer-director-producer Tyler Perry is 43. Actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley is 41. Rapper Nas is 39.

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In 1814, Francis Scott Key was moved to write a poem after witnessing how an American flag flying over Maryland’s Fort McHenry withstood a night of British bombardment during the War of 1812; the poem, ‘‘Defence of Fort McHenry,’’ later became the words to ‘‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’’

In 1861, the first naval engagement of the Civil War took place as the USS Colorado attacked and sank the Confederate private schooner Judah off Pensacola, Fla.

In 1901, President McKinley died in Buffalo of gunshot wounds inflicted by an assassin. Vice President Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him.

In 1927, dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice, France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of the car she was riding in.

In 1982, Princess Grace of Monaco died at age 52 of injuries from a car crash the day before; Lebanon’s president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was killed in a bombing.

In 1986, President Reagan and his wife, Nancy, appeared together on radio and television to appeal for a ‘‘national crusade’’ against drug abuse.

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