Top stories of the decade


The decade started with the world breathing in a collective sigh of relief. Y2K was not the end of the world.

Later in the year, the nation watched with rapt attention the drama associated with young Elian Gonzalez and his fight to stay in the United States. And of course, because of the 2000 election, everyone hates the word “recount” and knows what “chads” are and that they can be punched, hanging or pregnant.

Other headlines: USS Cole attack, Google takes the first steps to running the world by selling ads linked to keywords and reality TV erupts with the success of Survivor.



2001 is probably the most memorable year of the decade because of one event will forever haunt our minds–the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Americans everywhere were eternally affected and terrorism suddenly became a threat everyone was aware of. Vigils are now held on the anniversary of the attack to honor and remember those that were lost.

Other significant stories from the year include the California blackouts, the Anthrax scare, the launch of the Xbox and GameCube consoles and the premiere of the original Lord of the Rings movie. 



2002 was loaded with big headlines, but perhaps the most influential and culture-changing of them was the premiere of American Idol. Where would we be without William Hung and, more recently, the hit “Pants on the Ground?”

The year also marked the spread of the euro, when 12 countries adopted it as their currency. The sniper attacks made us examine our surroundings while pumping gas and we cheered from our coaches as the trapped miners were finally rescued.

In sports, the United States hosted the Salt Lake City Olympics, which were plagued with questionable judging calls, while the Los Angeles Lakers won their third straight NBA title. Serena Williams completed the “Serena Slam” and Augusta National open it’s course to women for the first time.



Tragedy struck again in 2003 when the Columbia space shuttle was destroyed during reentry, killing all seven crew members.

We learned of Saddam Hussein’s capture and scrambled during the huge blackout in the Northeast. Civil rights for homosexuals became a hot topic for debate everywhere.

Other headlines: Elizabeth Smart, Jessica Lynch and the BALCO controversy.



Thanks to 2004, the way we communicate and listen to music will never be the same. Facebook was introduced and now sharing your every activity with the world is viewed as normal.

As if Facebook were not enough, Apple introduced iTunes, changing the music industry forever.

In other news, Bush won reelection over John Kerry with the main platforms of morals regarding same-sex marriage and abortion.

At the end of the year, the Indian Ocean was hit with a 9.0 earthquake that caused massive, damaging tsunamis.

Other headlines: Abu Ghraib torture, Boston Red Sox win the World Series, Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl mishap, Ronald Reagan passes away and Barbie and Ken call it quits after decades of doll dating



New Orleans and the effects of Hurricane Katrina topped the headlines in 2005. The city is still far from its former glory and teams still work on repairing homes and lives.

Pope John Paul II passed away and Pope Benedict XVI was appointed to take over the reigns. The nation worried about contracting bird flu and crude oil prices began to soar.

Finally, two of today’s funniest forms of entertainment were introduced. NBC brought the brilliant British comedy, “The Office” to America and YouTube was created by three former PayPal employees.



The nation learned about the power of forgiveness and were intrigued by the simple lifestyle of the Amish community after the brutal Nickel Mines attack.

Illegal immigration became a big political subject, with protests erupting across the country.

The Iraq war worsened and the Democrats overtook the large majority and House of Representatives.

High School Musical created a multi-media craze with the debut of its original movie, making six practically unknown actors and actresses icons.

Finally, the death of Steve Irwin, the beloved Crocodile Hunter reignited our fear our stingrays.



College students–and their parents–were rocked by the brutal Virginia Tech massacre. In two separate attacks, 32 people were killed, marking the deadliest shooting incident by a single individual.

The I-35 Mississippi bridge collapsed during rush hour, injuring more than 140 people and leaving even more stranded.

The final Harry Potter novel was released, Paris Hilton went to jail for a DUI and Britney Spears spontaneously shaved her head.

Finally, Apple once again rocked the technological world when it introduced the iPhone, starting the smart phone craze.



2008 was a big year for politics. Barack Obama became the first African-American president and Sarah Palin was the first woman to run for the vice president position.

Michael Phelps dominated the Beijing Olympics, taking home a record-breaking eight gold medals.

Gas prices also set new records, with the national average climbing as high as $4.10 a gallon.

The economy starts to take its toll, with companies like Lehman Brothers slipping under.

Other headlines: Heath Ledger dies missing out on the success of the Dark Knight, the Mumbai Hotel attack and the infamous Ponzi scheme.



Celebrity news ruled 2009, from Taylor Swift’s unexpected and dominant rise in music to the loss music legend and the king of pop, Michael Jackson.

Scandals were found everywhere including Jon & Kate Gosselin’s messy divorce, the Balloon Boy hoax, and Tiger Woods fall from perfection.

Twitter erupted after it became the only way for Iranian protesters to communicate, and now fans can stalk their favorite celebrities even more.

The nation suffered from a poor economy full of bailouts and stimulus packages and H1N1 brought new meaning to the word sick.

Other headlines: Brett Favre and Lance Armstrong make comebacks, Ted Kennedy passes away and Sonia Sotomayor is elected to the Supreme Court. 

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