1990: Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex
While on a commercial excavation trip in South Dakota during August 1999, Sue Hendrickson, a fossil collector, discovered several vertebrae of what appeared to be a larger-than-life dinosaur. A little more digging uncovered the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton known to science. Dubbed Sue the T. rex after its discoverer, the dino fossil (actual gender unknown) is now on display in the Field Museum in Chicago.
1991: 'Summertime' by DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince
Rolling Stone called DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s 1991 hit “Summertime” “hip hop’s finest summer celebration.” Other tracks that were on repeat during the warmer months that year included Bryan Adams’s “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You,” Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up,” and EMF’s “Unbelievable.”
1992: The Mall of America opens
The Mall of America is constructed on 78 acres of prime downtown Minneapolis real estate, which it managed to acquire after two of the city’s sports teams relocated to a new stadium. On Aug. 11, 1992, the mall opened its doors for the first time and quickly redefined what Americans expected from a shopping experience. Today, the shopping center attracts more than 40 million visitors annually.
1993: Bill Clinton unveils 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell'
Up until July 25, 1993, when President Bill Clinton unveiled his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, openly LGBTQ+ folks weren’t allowed to serve in the military. The new policy, a compromise between the more-radical measures Clinton had wanted to take and the pushback he received from military leaders, meant that soldiers would no longer have to hide their sexual orientation, but they weren’t allowed to be open about it either.
1994: The O.J. Simpson police chase
Some 95 million people were glued to their TV screens on the evening of June 17, 1994, when O.J. Simpson, charged with two counts of murder, led the police on a low-speed chase around Los Angeles in his white Bronco. Every major public access and cable network followed the chase from the start to the finish, when Simpson eventually surrendered to police in the front yard of his mansion around 9 p.m. The chase turned the murder trial into an all-out spectacle—and one of the best-publicized trials of the 20th century.
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1995: Historic Chicago heat wave
The deadliest heat wave ever recorded in the U.S. took place from July 13-15, 1995 in Chicago. Temperatures were in the 100s each day, with heat indexes reaching highs of 125 degrees. Nearly 750 people died during the weather event, many of them elderly, poor, or previously ill.
1996: Centennial Olympic Park bombing
At 1:25 a.m. on July 27, 1996, a 40-pound pipe bomb exploded inside the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta. The homemade weapon killed two people and injured more than 100 others. Eric Rupert Randolph was later convicted of placing the bomb inside the park, and is currently serving several life sentences without the possibility of parole for the crime.
1997: Princess Diana dies
Nicknamed “the people’s princess,” Diana, Princess of Wales was killed in a car accident on Aug. 31, 1997. Diana and her rumored boyfriend, Egyptian billionaire Dodi Fayed, were being pursued by paparazzi when her chauffeur lost control of the car, killing the two men instantly and gravely injuring the princess. She died hours later after doctors failed to revive her, leaving behind two young sons, Princes William and Harry.
1998: Clinton-Lewinsky scandal
The scandalous affair between President Clinton and a young intern named Monica Lewinsky dominated news headlines during the summer of 1998. Particularly in August, when DNA evidence on Lewinsky’s infamous blue dress was confirmed to be Clinton’s, press coverage reached a fever pitch. Later that month, the president admitted on national TV: “Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.”
1999: US Women’s team wins the FIFA World Cup
In the summer of 1999, the FIFA Women’s World Cup was held in the U.S. The sporting event was a huge success, with more than 660,000 spectators attending the 32 games and 40 million more watching the action from the comfort of their own homes. In the final, nail-biting moments of the tournament, the U.S. pulled out a victory over China, when Brandi Chastain nailed her team’s fifth penalty kick attempt.
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