Looking Back: Most Notable Moments of the Decade
January 13, 2020
As the new year begins, many anticipate what 2020 has to offer. The Rampage has compiled a list of the most noteworthy political, pop culture and sports moments from the decade in order to reflect and reminisce about the past ten years, containing everything from dance trends and internet memes to the most serious matters Generation Z has witnessed. Events worth highlighting include Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012, American dominance in the Olympic games, President Donald Trump’s controversial administration over the last four years and recently, Washington D.C.’s crowning as the District of Champions. The list is organized into five different sections, each containing the most notable events over a two-year period.
Graphic by Elenna Mach
To kick off the decade, the world population reached seven billion people, according to a study performed by the United Nations in October 2011.
By the end of the year 2010, President Barack Obama signed into law the repeal of the 17-year-old “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, which banned homosexuals from openly serving in the U.S. military.
May 2, 2011, the FBI’s most wanted man, Osama Bin Laden, was killed by U.S. special forces during an early morning raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
2010 was a breakthrough year for Apple. April 3 marked the release of the first iPad, the most technologically advanced tablet available at the time. Then in June, the iPhone 4 was released, marking the first of many redesigns of the smartphone. That fall, Instagram was released, quickly becoming the No. 1 free photo sharing app.
2010 also brought the world One Direction, arguably the most iconic boy band of this generation. The British group, which is now broken up, released their chart-topping single “What Makes You Beautiful” September 11, 2011.
In April 2011, Princess Diana’s eldest son, William, married Kate Middleton. The wedding broadcast garnered over 23 million American viewers. Four months later, American “royalty” Kim Kardashian and former NBA player Kris Humphries tied the knot, signifying the beginning of their infamous 72-day marriage.
In a highly anticipated television special, “The Decision,” NBA All-Star LeBron James shocked the nation when he announced that he would join the Miami Heat after seven years with his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the football world, the New Orleans Saints brought home the Lombardi trophy for the first time in franchise history in 2010. It was a spirit-boosting event for New Orleans after the merciless Hurricane Katrina hit the city.
The following year was brutal for sports as scandals dominated headlines, most notably Penn State’s Joe Paterno’s charges of 40 counts of child abuse. He was one of the most successful coaches in collegiate football history but his reputation was marred by the child abuse sex scandal.
Graphic by Elenna Mach
In 2012, Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama secured his reelection against Republican Mitt Romney.
For supporters of same-sex marriage, 2012 and 2013 were milestone years. By 2013, D.C., along with 12 other states, legalized same-sex marriage.
In a landmark 5-4 decision June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman, furthering the expansion of same-sex marriage rights.
The early 2010s made their mark on the box-office, creating Generation Z classics such as “The Hunger Games” and “Frozen.” Based off of Suzanna Collins’ dystopian novel, “The Hunger Games” movie premiered in theaters March 23, 2012, bringing in almost $153 million opening weekend and breaking box-office records. In November of the following year, Disney’s “Frozen” debuted and became the highest-grossing animated film ever; it maintained its spot until July 2019 when Disney released the new “Lion King” movie.
In addition to memorable movies, unforgettable songs and musical performances were staples of this two year period. In July 2012, K-pop star Psy posted the music video for his hit song “Gangnam Style” on YouTube, quickly becoming an internet craze. As of January 3, 2020, the video has almost 3.4 billion views.
Out of many great sports accomplishments in 2012, none are quite as impressive as Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown win with a .330 batting average, 44 home runs and 139 RBI’s. This rare feat had not been accomplished since Boston Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
“This was his [Cabrera’s] breakout year, he shocked the whole organization and the major league itself,” senior Zach Crim said.
On the track at the 2012 London games, social media erupted after Jamaican athlete Usain Bolt’s unique accomplishment of successfully defending both the 100m and 200m titles, contributing to him being named the greatest sprinter of all time.
Graphic by Elenna Mach
Donald Trump formally announced his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination June 15, 2015. During his speech, Trump condemned Mexican immigrants and continued to promise the building of a southern border wall. With his term reaching its end, the president has already begun his reelection campaign.
The U.S. Supreme Court annulled all state bans on same sex marriage June 26, 2015, legalizing it in all fifty states. The nullification of the state laws also required states to honor out-of-state same sex marriage license precedent established in the case Obergefell v. Hodges.
Based off of John Green’s teen romance novel, “The Fault in our Stars” movie was released June 6, 2014, establishing Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort as big names in Hollywood and generating over $300 million in the global box-office.
Transitioning into 2015, the year started out with the debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical “Hamilton” Jan. 15, which became one of the biggest commercial hits in Broadway history. Although, the world shifted focus in February as the unforgettable gold and white or black and blue dress phenomenon plagued the internet.
Then in April, Caitlyn Jenner came out as transgender during an interview with Diane Sawyer, becoming one of the most famous transgender women in the world. She was honored as Glamour’s Woman of the Year in November.
One of the top sports moments of 2014 was when top-ranked tennis player in the world, Serena Williams, won her third consecutive U.S. Open Championship and 18th major title overall.
The summer of 2014 introduced the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. By month’s end, the challenge raised over $115 million.
The following year in one of the most hyped retirements in the MLB, the New York Yankees’ Derek Jeter had an amazing game to finish off his 20-year career.
Graphic by Elenna Mach
Former first lady, New York Democratic senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee of a major U.S. political party in the presidential election.
But then November 8, 2016 came. Clinton was predicted to win the 2016 Presidential Election based on exit polls, but in one of the country’s biggest political shockers, Republican nominee Donald Trump was announced the 45th President of the U.S.
President Trump is one of the five presidents in U.S. history to lose the nationwide popular vote– by 2.9 million votes– but secure the majority of the electoral college, resulting in his win and stunning many Americans.
In 2016, certain releases including Apple Airpods and the video game Fortnite caught many’s attention, eventually turning into popular internet memes, spreading all over social media. During the initial launch of AirPods in 2016, many believed the new device looked incredibly awkward and funny-looking. But product sales skyrocketed, bringing in a revenue of about $8 billion in just two years.
One of the most unforgettable, and considered tragic to many, moments was the death of Vine during the transition into 2017. The Vine mobile app, a short-form video hosting service, was pronounced “dead” December 16, 2016. Millions of people all over the world turned to Vine for hilarious loops and good laughs, but with the competition raised by Instagram and Snapchat, the app slowly lost popularity, leading to its eventual downfall.
The U.S. dominated the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. By the end of the 16-day tournament, the U.S. had accumulated 121 medals, 46 of which were gold. American swimmer Katie Ledecky from Bethesda, Md. set a new world record in the 800-meter freestyle, winning her event by a whopping 12 seconds and bringing home a total of five medals. American swimmer Michael Phelps from Baltimore, Md. was named the most decorated Olympian in history, winning his 28th medal during the competition.
Graphic by Elenna Mach
The past two years have been filled with political turmoil, including instances of both social progression and regression. 2018 started tragically as a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. left 17 dead and another 17 wounded. The shooting was the catalyst for a massive gun reform campaign and many RHS students attended the March for Our Lives on Capitol Hill the following month to demand gun law reform.
Later that year, in October, Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed into the Supreme Court despite allegations of sexual assault, sparking controversy. Nevertheless, Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate in a 50-48 vote.
Most recently, President Trump was formally impeached by the House of Representatives Dec. 19 after voting on two articles of impeachment: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. Only four U.S. presidents have faced formal impeachment inquiries: Andrew Johnson, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Trump.
TikTok took the world by storm with its short lip-sync, comedy and talent videos since it’s rebranding of Musical.ly in August 2018. The app has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times worldwide and has made over $115 million in 2019 alone. Junior Sean Davis, an avid TikTok user, makes his own videos and watches videos daily.
“People are always on it because it’s so addictive and fun and the dancing in school is a way people connect with their friends and I feel like a lot of people have jokes with it or express themselves through TikTok,” Davis said.
Fans were devastated at the 2013 split-up of the Jonas Brother boy band but 2019 couldn’t have come faster for their long-awaited return with their hit song, “Sucker.” The revival of the band had kids born in the early 2000’s thrilled as the childhood-favorite band had made a comeback.
In one of the strangest and unexpected, yet one of the best musical collaborations of Generation Z, rapper Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” featuring country’s Billy Ray Cyrus became the longest-running No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with 19 consecutive weeks at the top of the chart. The song started off as a meme but quickly gained traction as it went viral and spread even more as it became the TikTok #YeeHaw challenge.
In the two-year time span, the NHL Washington Capitals, WNBA Mystics and the MLB Nationals won each of their franchise’s first respective championship titles, crowning Washington D.C. the District of Champions.
The Capitals defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in 4-1 games during the 2018 Stanley Cup Championship, winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
The Mystics were finally awarded the WNBA champion title after beating the Connecticut Suns during Game Five of the hard-fought series.
The Nationals obtained their first Commissioner’s Trophy after defeating the Houston Astros 6-2 in Game 7 in the World Series Oct. 31.
Additionally, the U.S. women’s soccer team won the 2019 FIFA World Cup for the fourth time, defeating Netherlands 2-0 in the final round of playoffs.