65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today

The United States of America is rather new and young country. The country got its independence on July 4 1776, when the founding fathers of USA signed the Declaration of Independence. It was a memorial day in the history of the country. And in its short history, USA has had a number of iconic moments. Let’s revisit some of them.

1. Battlefield casualties at Gettysburg, 1863

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: history.com

The battle of Gettysburg lasted only three days, from July 1 to July 3. Still, it was one of the most memorable battles during the American Civil War. According to some estimates, more than 50,000 soldiers ended up killed, wounded or injured.

2. Lincoln at Gettysburg, November 19, 1863

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: historynet.com

Many believe that the battle of Gettysburg was less important than the speech president Abraham Lincoln gave at the battle point. Called the “Gettysburg Address”, the President said”the world will little note, nor long remember what we say here”. However, the world did noted, and the world remembers what happened in Gettysburg.

3. Bison Skulls for Fertiliser, 1870

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: commons.wikimedia.org

In the 19th century, bisons were hunted for their leather. They were mostly sent to Europe, Germany to be exact. It is hard to count how many bisons are on this picture, but it shows the cruelty of man. What one will do for a piece of leather clothing. Bison bones, on the other hand, were used for processing sugar and making fertilizers.

4. Wright Brothers First Flight in 1903

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: monovision.com

The Wright Brothers actually had several flights before the 1903 flight. But the 1903 flight is remarkable for the improvements the brothers made into the “airplane”. The plane was still made of wood, but they added an engine as well. According to their own data, the propeller was 60% efficient. Later research showed that the brothers actually achieved 75% efficiency.

5. San Francisco Earthquake 1906. Ruins of Golden Gate Near Hyde

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: allposters.com

The earthquake nearly destroyed the city, with the magnitude reaching 7.8. The devastating earthquake left more than half of the city’s population homeless, with more than 220,000 people living on the streets, and more than 30,000 buildings burned into the fire.

6. Lunch atop a skyscraper, 1932

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

The United States of America began building skyscrapers in the late 1890s, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that the business really got going. The culmination was in 1930, with the completion of the Empire State Building, the tallest skyscraper in the world built at the moment. The Empire will stay the tallest building in the world for the next 40 years. Here, we see workers and their view from the sky.

7. The migrant mother (Dorothea Lange 1936)

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Dorothea was one of the most iconic photographers in America in the 1930s. Her photo “migrant mother” is definitely one of the most famous. The woman on the photo is Florence Owens Thompson. Dorothea was instantly drawn to the mother, and the mother with two children caught her attention. Dorothea made five shots, coming closer and closer for each shot. At the end, the photo was retouched to hide the thumb.

8. The Hindenburg disaster 1937

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: vintag.es

In what can be classified as a disaster and a miracle, the German zeppelin crashed while trying to dock into American soil. Out of 97 passengers, 62 were saved, despite the disaster and fire all around. The remaining 35 members of the crew died on spot.

9. The luckiest man on the face of the Earth 1939

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo:thisgreatgame.com

Gehrig was the New York Yankees captain and first baseman for 17 years. He was one of their most successful players, but during the 1938 season, he was diagnosed with ALS. He announced his retirement the next year, and was honored in 1939 at the Yankee stadium. He delivered one of the most powerful speeches in sport’s history. Nowadays, there is still no cure for ALS, but the disease has gotten recognition and awareness has been raised thanks to Gehrig.

10. Attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: photos.masslive.com

In what is widely considered the worst loss in American military history, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor without declaration of war. Before the attack, America was standing still and was not taking part in World War II. But the attack was too much for the Americans to swallow, so they joined the war next day. Many believe that the Pearl Harbor attack changed the tides of the war, as the Americans were too much for the Nazi forces to overcome.

11. USS Yorktown (CV-5) ablaze after Battle of Midway, June 1942

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: pinterest.com

The battle of Midway came six months after the Pearl Harbor attack. It was one of the decisive battles of the World War II, as the Americans took home victory over the Japanese, and turned the tides of the war.

12. Into the Jaws of Death, June 6 1944

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo:en.wikipedia.org

Chief Photographer’s Mate Robert Sargent is the man responsible for this iconic photo. Taken during the troop landing phase of D-Day, the photo is one of the most widely reproduced photographs of the event. D-Day is the largest combat operation in the history of the United States. In popular culture, the picture was evoked in the movie “Saving Private Ryan”. Nowadays, the original is stored in the Coast Guard Historian’s Office.

13. Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima,  February 23, 1945

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: mtsu.edu

Iwo Jima is considered the bloodiest battle of the War in the Pacific. The battle lasted for five weeks, and after five weeks, the Americans finally were able to take home the victory over the Japanese. To proclaim the victory, American soldiers raised the flag. The photo, with six marines in it is one of the most reprinted photos of all time. It is also the only photograph in the history to win Pulitzer Prize in the same year it was published.

14. The Bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August, 1945

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: spaceflightjistory.blogspot.com

The photos of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing remain as reminder nowadays, what can happen when you use nuclear weapons. While many defend the bombing even today, saying that the bombs essentially ended the war, there are also many who believe that the United States of America were too cruel to use nuclear weapons. It is still the only time in history that nuclear weapons have been used.

15. The kiss, August 1945

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

World War II lasted for five years, and the United States of America were part of the war for four years. After the War, marines came back home, and “The Kiss” was born. An iconic photo, arguably one of the most reprinted photos of all time, it captures the moment of love and joy between an American sailor and a white-uniformed nurse in a back-bending, passionate kiss.

16. Parks on a Montgomery bus on December 21, 1956

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

For 15 days, Rosa Parks was the face of a campaign that led to the United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws requiring segregated buses to be unconstitutional. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person on the bus on December 5. She was arrested, and 15 days later she was released after a ruling from the Supreme Court. She became the face of change.

17. The Little Rock Nine, 1957

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: encyclopediaodarkansas.net

During the 1950’s, America was fighting racism, segregation and discrimination. The little rock nine was the term used for the nine African-American students that were enrolled into the Little Rock Central High School. The Governor of Arkansas decided to call up other students and block the entrance to the school, saying he was doing so for the kid’s protection.

18. I Have A Dream… August, 1963

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: fastcompany.com

The discrimination battle continued in the 1960s as well, with the emergence of Martin Luther King. In 1963, he delivered the iconic “I have a dream” speech, in which he openly talked about a society in which white people and black people live together. It took several years, but Martin Luther’s dream has come true.

19.  The Birmingham Children’s Crusade, May 2-5 1963

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: biography.com

Birmingham was the most segregated city in the United States of America, and students wanted to change that. Hundreds of them tried to march toward the mayor’s office, to protest the segregation. The police used dogs, horses and water cannons to stop them. Malcolm X was against the march, saying that real men don’t need children to fight their battles.

20. President John. F. Kennedy’s assassination, November 22, 1963

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: oldpicz.com

President Kennedy was one of the most beloved presidents in American history. But, as history shows, he was hated by military organizations because of his promise and determination to reduce the war and gun industry in the States. He was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald, who was later killed before entering his trial.

21.  Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as US President, November 22, 1963

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Lyndon Johnson served as president for six years after the assassination of Kennedy. He was vice-president under JFK, and served for six years after. He swore to protect the constitution in front of his wife, and the wife of the deceased president Kennedy.

22. John F. Kennedy’s funeral,November 25, 1963

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
nydailynews.com

The Sunday after the assassination, president Kennedy was buried and received the last salute by his nation. Hundreds of thousands came to the funeral to say goodbye to their beloved president. The picture shows his three year old son, John F. Kennedy Jr, saluting his father’s casket.

23. Muhammad Ali Stands Over Sonny Liston, May 25, 1965

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: boxrec.com

The fight between Ali and Liston was the most anticipated fight in boxing history at the time. Years after, no other fight has managed to gain the popularity as the Ali-Liston fight. The 1965 fight was the second between the two. They fought in 1962 for the first time, with Sonny being the champion. Ali managed to upset him, declaring he is the greatest boxer alive. Liston challenged Ali to a second fight, and in 1965 they entered the ring again. The ending was controversial, with Ali knocking Liston in just one minute, but he then refused to go to neutral corner, and elected to stand over the fallen champion.

24. War is hell, 1965

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: news.inverhills.edu

For twenty years, the Americans fought Vietnam. From 1955 to 1975. Vietnam still remains one of the biggest failures of the American military force, as the Americans were scared away from the country. The slogan “War is Hell” became one of the iconic during the protests in USA as American citizens asked the government to bring back soldiers from Vietnam.

25. James Meredith Marches Against Fear, June 6, 1966

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: medium.com

James Meredith is another iconic character of the fight for equal rights. He became the first African-American to enroll to state university in 1962, and during a march for civil rights in 1966 was shot by a sniper.

26. Flower Power, October 26, 1967

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.com

Going back to the Vietnam War, Americans protested against the war for several rights. Flower Power became a slogan and symbol of passive resistance and non-violence ideology. One of the most iconic photos of flower power is the photo of a protester placing a flower into the rifle of a National Guardsman blocking the Pentagon.

27. Martin Luther King is assassinated, April 4, 1968

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: historythings.com

The assassination of Martin Luther King hit America as hard as the assassination of JFK. King was finally getting the government to take some measures against segregation and discrimination in the late 60s, but it was at that time that he was assassinated.

28. The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, June 6, 1968

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: moma.org

Robert continued the Kennedy curse. That was the name the public gave to the death of many famous and popular Kennedy family members. Just few years after the assassination of his brother, Robert was killed by a gun fire wound. He served as the senator of New York.

29. Black Power Salute,  October 1968

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: pinterest.com

At the time of the 1968 Olympics, discrimination was still a huge deal in the United States. Their medal winning athletes decided to make a protest, raising their arms. Tommie Smith raised his right hand to represent black power, while John Carlos saluted with his left, representing black unity.

30. Earthrise, December 24, 1968

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Considered by many the “most influential environmental photograph ever taken”, Earthrise is actually a photo Bill Anders, a member of the Apollo 8 mission took of our planet Earth. The picture shows the Earth rising above the lunar horizon.

31. The Kent State Massacre, May 4, 1970

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Phto: en.wikipedia.org

At the time, the Kent State massacre was the most brutal and bloodiest massacre of college students. Of course, we’ve seen bloodier nowadays, but the Kent massacre will remain deeply embedded into American history. Four college students lost their lives that day.

32. Nixon’s Goodbye,  August 8, 1974

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: authentichistory.com

Fun fact: Nixon delivered one of his best speeches during the final goodbye. He waved goodbye to the nation, resigning from presidency following the Watergate scandal. The next day, hundreds of thousands meet the president in front of the White House.

33. Fall of Saigon, April 29, 1975

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

This is the day the Americans officially lost the Vietnam War. Vietnamese liberal forces reached Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. CIA had to evacuate the personnel before they were killed by the Vietnamese forces.

34. The soiling of Old Glory, April 5, 1976

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: theguardian.com

The Pulitzer Price photograph shows Joseph Rakes, a white teenager trying to assault Ted Landsmark, a black man civil right activist. He tried to assault Landsmark with an American flag. Joseph got the idea during a series of protests against court ordered desegregation busing.

35. Best baseball play ever, April 1976

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: conservativetribune.com

Rick Monday was a professional baseball player. Today, he serves as a broadcaster, but his moment of fame came in 1976, when he saved the American flag from two protesters. The protesters were trying to burn the flag, but Monday came in running and saved the flag.

36. The Freedom Parade, 1978

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: bostonherald.com

San Francisco organized the first Freedom Parade, known today as the Gay Parade of the LGBT community in 1970. But it wasn’t until 1978 that the parade got international recognition, when the rainbow colored flag was first introduced. The flag became an international symbol for LGBT rights.

37. Miracle on Ice,February 22, 1980

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: orda.org

In the six previous Olympic Games, the Soviet Union won 6 gold medals in ice-hockey. But in 1980, their reign came to an end, as a US hockey team composed of amateurs and students managed to beat the Soviet Union. The Americans went on to win the gold against Finland, but it was the semi-final win against the Soviet Union that stays embedded into memory.

38. John Lennon’s Murder, December 8, 1980

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: mashable.com

It is hard to envision that a musician could attract as many people to his funeral as a politician. John Lennon was one of the most popular musicians in America, despite being a British. He was shot in front of his apartment in Manhattan Upper West Side. His killer was later identified as Mark Chapman.

39. The end of the Iran hostage crisis, January 1981

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: nytimes.com

It took 444 days, but the American hostages captured in Tehran, Iran, were released and got back home. The Iran hostage crisis started when a group of Muslim students took over the US Embassy in Tehran. They captured 52 diplomats and citizens. They were released after 444 days in captivity.

40. Assassination attempt on President Regan, March 30, 1981

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: m.reddit.com

Just 69 days into his presidency, president Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt. The bizarre aspect of the assassination is that John Hinckley Jr., the man responsible for the attempt, did it to impress actress Jodie Foster. Reagan and three of his staff members were wounded, but they all survived.

41. The Challenger disaster, January 28, 1986

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: dailymail.co.uk

Just 73 seconds into its flight, NASA’s orbiter Challenger broke apart. As a result, all seven of the crew members died.

42.  Nobody’s born racist, 1992

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: rebrn.com

A child dressed as KKK member meets a black state trooper, showing that nobody is born racist, we grow into one.

43. The Trials of OJ Simpson, June 1995

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: fortune.com

Simpson’s trial was dubbed the “trial of the century” at the time, and it still is one of the most famous trials. The photo shows the famous incident, when O.J. was asked to try on the gloves by the prosecutors. The gloves did not fit, signaling that Simpson was not wearing the gloves which the prosecutor claimed were worn by the killer.

 44. Oklahoma City Bombing victims , April 19, 1995

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: edition.cnn.com

Before 9/11, the United States of America were hit by another terrorist attack. The target was Oklahoma City, the Albert P. Murrah Federal Building. As a result of the attack, 168 people lost their lives, and more 500 were injured in the blast.

45. Black Teen Protects KKK Member, 1996

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: wesharepics.info

In 1996, Keshia Thomas protected a white man from being killed by an angry mob. Keisha was part of a protest in Ann Arbor. But during the protest, the people noticed a white man with an SS tattoo on his body. The group chased the man, and quickly went from controlled protestors to angry mob. They hit the man with sticks as he lay on the ground, and in that moment, Thomas, 18 year old at the time, threw himself on the man to protect him.

46. The Elián González Affair, April  2000

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Elian Gonzales was a Cuban student who was part of one of the most famous disputes, involving his parents, his relatives, the Cuban government, and the United States government. The international custody and immigration dispute was resolved when the boy was returned to Cuba. The incident played a role in the Cuban vote in Florida during the 2000 Presidential Elections.

47. The second plane hits the WTC, September 11, 2001

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: imgur.com

In what is considered the biggest terrorist attack in the history of the world, not just the United States of America, Al-Qaeda  took over control of two airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center. The incident sparked “War on Terrorism” by the American administration.

48. The Falling Man, September 11, 2001

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: en.wikipedia.org

There were many iconic photographs during the 9/11 incident, and in aftermath of the terrorist attack. The man falling from the building is one of those.

49. Raising the Flag at Ground Zero,  September 11, 2001

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: theodysseyonline.com

Later in the day of September 11, the rescue teams finally managed to raise the American flag, signaling a hope and perseverance to survive and continue to battle. The American Flag is one of the most iconic symbols of the country, and it must be always raised.

50.  Veterans Day, 2004

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: history.com

51. The Sun sets on Mars, May 19, 2005

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: space.com

This was the first time NASA’s rover captured the sun setting on Mars. In the distance, the floor of the Gustav crater is visible.

52. New Orleans flooded by Hurricane Katrina, August 29 2005

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: ibtimes.co.uk

In just few days time frame, New Orleans was hit by two catastrophes, the hurricane Katrina and hurricane Rita. The city was flooded, houses were destroyed, and families were killed. The devastating hurricane left a mark on the city of New Orleans, and America as a whole. Years later the city was still recovering from the effects.

53. Survivors of Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2005

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: photos.today.az

The hurricane Katrina brought people together like nothing America saw before. Young and old, black and white, they were all united for the good of the city. The picture shows a 5 year old black girl, Tanisha Blevin, holding the hand of 105 year old victim Nita LaGarde.

54. A Mother Returns from War, September 11, 2007

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: alk3r.wordpress.com

In 2007, America began the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The withdrawal lasted for several years, but it was an encouraging sign of an end to a devastating war. The return of the troops resulted in several heartbreaking photos, including the iconic hug between a mother and her daughter.

55.  First inauguration of Barack Obama, January 20, 2008

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: abcnews.go.com

In 2008, Barack Obama made history becoming the first African-American president of the United States. Some 50 years ago, America was torn in a civil war, segregation and discrimination were at their high, and the country couldn’t envision black president. But in 2008, the people of America voted for Obama, and his slogan “Change we believe in”.

56. Bin Laden is dead, 2011

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: lens.blogs.nytimes.com

It took the United States of America 10 years, but in 2011, they finally killed the man responsible for the biggest terrorist attack of all time. Bin Laden was killed in a joint action by the entire US military division. The victory helped Obama win another term in 2012.

57.  The Aftermath of the Alabama tornado, April 27 2011

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: blogs.sacbee.com

With the highest wind reaching peak of 190mph (310kmh), the tornado in Alabama caused damage around $2.4 billion. But it was the damage it did to the population of the city. The city was never the same, and the US was hit by natural disaster for the second time in just six years.

58. The 10th Anniversary, September 11, 2011

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: cbsnews.com

Shortly after the death of Bin Laden, the population of America had to mourn the victims of the 9/11 attack, the one that Bin Laden and his terrorist organization orchestrated. The picture shows a man weeping before the memorial of the attacks.

59. UC Davis pepper-spray incident, November 2011

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: imgur.com

The pepper-spray incident spread around as a viral video, and shortly after it became an internet meme. During the incident, a police officer sprayed students during their demonstration. The police officer was fired, despite recommendation that he keeps his job.

60. The Sandy Hook Massacre, December 14, 2012

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: usatoday.com

It has been six years, and we still have no idea what clicked in the mind of Adam Lanza to make him go and kill 20 children and six adults. On December 14, Lanza entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School, and fired at the children, killing 20 aged between six and seven years old, and six members of the staff. Lanza was put on trial, and his mental problems are still an issue.

61. Boston Marathon Bombings, April 15, 2013

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: msnbc.com

The Boston bombing was the first one that happened during a marathon. Several marathons around the world were canceled due to the bombing. Three civilians were killed in the bombing, and more than 200 were injured.

62. Ferguson Riots, August 2014

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: huffingtonpost.com

While many believed that discrimination has come to an end with the election of President Obama, the truth is that discrimination will always be part of the society. In 2014, a white police officer shot teenager Michael Brown. As a response to the shooting, people took it to the streets, starting riots that lasted for several days. The picture shows Rashaad Davis as he is met with the police force.

63. The Ferguson Hug, December 2014

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: oregonlive.com

Despite everything, the Ferguson riots gave hope to the nation. The hope for better future was best illustrated by the hug  by protester Devonte Hart and the Portland police officer Bret Barnum.

64. The Baltimore Protests, April, 2015

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: countercurrentnews.com

The protests were caused by the death of 25-year old Freddie Gray, an African-American resident of Baltimore. While in transport, Gray sustained injuries, and on April went into coma. He died the following day, just one week after his arrest. Protests were organized in front of the police station, and on May 1, charges were issued against the six officers involved in the incident.

65. Same-sex marriage is legalized, June 26, 2015

65 Powerful Moments That Shaped USA Into What It Is Today
Photo: usatoday.com

June 26, 2015 can be classified as the day LGBT rights won over the US discrimination views. The Supreme Court made same-sex marriages legal across the country. Many countries outside the US followed suit.

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