2000: 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' published
In the wee hours of the morning July 8, 2000, Harry Potter fans around the world lined up outside of bookstores in an effort to get their hands on the freshly-released “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.” The fourth installment in J.K. Rowling’s series about a trio of young wizards, the book’s first printing was a record-breaking 5 million copies. This also marked the first time a Harry Potter book was published in the U.S. and the United Kingdom on the same date.
2001: Aaliyah’s death and the Bush tax cuts
For everything that happened in 2001—the release of the first iPod, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the premiere of the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” movie—the summer was relatively quiet. One major pop-culture event was the death of singer Aaliyah after a small plane carrying her and eight others crashed just after takeoff in the Bahamas. Another newsworthy headline was the signing of the Bush tax cuts (the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001) into law in early June.
2002: Kelly Clarkson wins 'American Idol'
The first season of the cultural touchstone “American Idol” began on June 11, 2002. Several weeks later, on Sept. 4, Kelly Clarkson—then a 20-year-old cocktail waitress from Texas—was crowned the winner. Today, Clarkson, who has acted as a judge on other singing competitions, hosts her own talk show, and “American Idol” has been renewed for a 19th season.
2003: 'Finding Nemo' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean'
Disney had two major blockbusters in the summer of 2003. The animated, family-friendly film “Finding Nemo” was released on May 30, followed by “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” July 9. Combined, the films brought in more than $645 million at the domestic box office alone.
2004: First legal same-sex marriage
The LGBTQ+ community spent the summer celebrating the country’s first same-sex marriages in May 2004. Marcia Kadish and Tanya McCloskey were the first partners to be legally married at Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts. Some 77 other same-sex couples followed in their footsteps on that day across the state.
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2005: Hurricane Katrina makes landfall
One of the deadliest hurricanes to ever make landfall, Hurricane Katrina hit the Louisiana-Mississippi border on Aug. 29, 2004, as a Category 3 storm. The storm caused extensive damage in both states (totaling $108 billion), flooding 80% of New Orleans and the surrounding parishes, and leaving thousands in the Gulf Coast area homeless. Some 1,833 people died in the hurricane and the residual flooding combined.
2006: Facebook is opened to everyone
As summer 2006 waned away, Facebook was just beginning its meteoric rise to popularity. In September of that year, the website was officially open to the public, no longer requiring a college or university e-mail address. Instead, anyone aged 13 or older with a valid email address could create an account. Today, Facebook is one of the biggest companies in the world, worth around $681 billion.
2007: First iPhone
The first generation iPhone went on sale on June 29, 2007. Steve Jobs called the smartphone a “revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” and customers lined up outside of Apple stores around the country hoping to purchase one. Five months later, in November, 1.4 million iPhones had sold and The New York Times named the device its “invention of the year.”
2008: Barack Obama wins Democratic nomination
Barack Obama made history June 3, 2008, when he became the first African-American candidate to win a major party nomination for president. The Democrat beat Hillary Clinton, the former senator who was also attempting to make history, as the first female presidential candidate from a major party.
2009: Michael Jackson dies
The King of Pop, whose music had been the soundtrack to so many summers, died June 25, 2009. Michael Jackson’s death was such a major event that several major websites, including Twitter and Google, crashed because of the number of people seeking information about his passing. The singer’s official cause of death was listed as cardiac arrest, which was caused by a fatal combination of prescription drugs given to him by his doctor.
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