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Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Updated: April 20, 1:09 PM ET
Happy Birthday, Maria!

Page 2 staff

For a while now, we've known that many, many people have had April 19, 2005, marked on their calendars – the day Maria Sharapova turns 18 years old.

PAGE 2 KARAOKE
Join the fun and celebrate Maria's birthday by singing along to "MY SHARAPOVA"

We just weren't sure how many ... well, until now.

Page 2 sent our reporters out coast to coast to cover the celebration from all four time zones. And even we were amazed at the response.

Anna Kournikova, Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan? Forget it. Their birthday bashes were one pony ride short of a kids' party compared to Maria's shindig.

So let us be the first of millions to say -- Happy Birthday, Maria!

TIMES SQUARE, NEW YORK CITY – EASTERN TIME ZONE

At the stroke of midnight, over one million men between the ages of 18 and 54 gathered in historic Times Square to kick off the festivities for Maria's big day.

The fact that Maria would never even consider speaking to any of these men, let alone date them, didn't dampen the spirits of this crowd.

Co-masters of ceremonies Colin Powell and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg were also caught up in moment.

"What these men are celebrating is hope," said Bloomberg. "Hope that they can express themselves and not risk prosecution in every state but Arkansas. And that's what this country was built on."

After a special performance by former crowd favorite Lindsay Lohan, everyone returned home to the suburbs and their families.

Maria
"Just think, Bloomberg, a few minutes ago we probably would have been arrested if anyone had seen our screen savers."

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- EASTERN TIME ZONE
As for Maria, she started her day off in Washington, D.C., as a guest of President Bush. And in a rare showing of bipartisan support, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) was on hand to co-sign a proclamation naming April 19th a national holiday.

Following the ceremony, Sen. Kennedy attempted to invite Ms. Sharapova back to his Georgetown apartment for a private reception, but the president's Secret Service detail was able to keep Kennedy at bay.

Maria
"While preparing for this day I studied the writings of men like Washington, Lincoln and FDR. But I think this moment calls for the words of my immediate predecessor – so I say, Maria, you want to know why they call me the most powerful man in the free world? C'mere baby ... "

Now it's on to Chicago and the CENTRAL TIME ZONE.