Barack Obama is inaugurated on Jan. 20 as America’s first African American president.
After sucking flocks of birds into two engines, Capt. Chesley Sullenberger lands a US Airways passenger jet into the Hudson River, saving 155 lives.
Octo-mom Nadya Suleman gives birth to eight more children in addition to the six she was raising.
The ‘Black Saturday’ brush fires of Australia on Feb. 7 included over 400 individual fires that kill 173 people and destroys 1.1 million acres.
Bernie Madoff pleads guilty on March 12 to bilking billions of dollars from his securities clients in a Ponzi scheme.
Panic over the swine flu (H1N1) virus creates tension in multiple nations, but especially Mexico where 152 deaths are recorded.
Former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun is reported to have committed suicide on May 23 while under investigation for a bribery scandal.
David Carradine, who starred in the Kung-Fu TV series, is found dead in Thailand on June 3 under controversial circumstances.
Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, succumbs to prescription drugs on June 25. The Internet almost crashes as everyone tweets, updates their Facebook status, or emails the news.
A young woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, is killed at a protest in Iran on June 20 and becomes a martyr for the oppressed.
Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin announced on July 3 that she will resign as governor of Alaska under speculation that she will run for president in 2012.
Black Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates is arrested at his home on July 20 by a Caucasian police officer, which escalates into a national “incident” commented on by President Obama and resulting in all three sitting down for a “beer summit” at the White House.
Former president Bill Clinton rescues two Asian American journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, who have been held by North Korea after being accused of spying. They arrived home on August 4.
An 8.3 earthquake in the Pacific Ocean triggers a massive tsunami that hits America Samoa and Tonga, and takes 180 lives.
Typhoon Ketsana hits Vietnam on Sept. 30. Victims number approximately 101.
Filmmaker Roman Polanski is arrested 32 years after fleeing the U.S. before his trial for sexually assaulting a 13 year-old girl can begin.
Even as the U.S. wages war in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pres. Obama is announced as a recipient for the Nobel Peace Prize on Oct. 9 among both protests and praises. He is given the award on Dec. 10.
An elaborate hoax is planned by reality star hopefuls Richard and Mayumi Heene that involves pretending their young son was swept away while hiding inside a hot air balloon on Oct. 15.
A massacre of 13 U.S. soldiers at Ft. Hood military base on Nov. 15 is committed by an army psychiatrist with reported strong connections to a radical Islamic cleric.
Four police officers are gunned down at a coffee shop in Lakewood, Washington on Nov. 29, and the manhunt is extended to Seattle where the suspect is killed by a lone patrolman.
Tiger Woods is involved in a car accident on Nov. 27, related to a domestic dispute. His return to golf is debated.
Seattleite Amanda Knox is found guilty of murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Italy and sentenced to 26 years in prison on Dec. 4.