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Then and now: celebrating 30 years of Schriever

The Falcon Air Force Station sign (top) greets visitors to the base bearing the Air Force Space Command shield in 1985. Today, visitors to Schriever Air Force Base are welcomed with a sign bearing the Air Force symbol.  (Courtesy photo)

The Falcon Air Force Station sign (top) greets visitors to the base bearing the Air Force Space Command shield in 1985. Today, visitors to Schriever Air Force Base are welcomed with a sign bearing the Air Force symbol. (Courtesy photo)

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- The year was 1985, Ronald Reagan began his second term as President, Sylvester Stallone was king of the box office, popular musicians were putting together benefit concerts and albums, the Cold War was beginning to wind down and, on Sept. 26, Falcon Air Force Station (later renamed Schriever Air Force Base) began operations.

As Schriever celebrates its 30th anniversary, we fire up the flux capacitor to take a look back at 1985 and see what's changed, what's stayed the same and to give a brief glimpse into the world as it was when Falcon/Schriever opened its doors for the first time.

World Headlines

Then: Ronald Reagan begins his second term as President of the United States on Jan. 20, two months later, Mikhail Gorbachev becomes the general secretary of Russia. Gorbachev and Reagan would work together to end the Cold War, signing the first-ever mutual agreement on the reduction of nuclear weapons.

Dr. Robert Ballard and his crew located the wreckage of the Titanic Sept. 1. The doomed liner was found approximately 370 miles southeast of Mistaken Point, Newfoundland at a depth of 2.5 miles.

An 8.0 magnitude earthquake off the coast of the Mexican state of Michoacan Sept. 19 killed 9,500, injured another 30,000 and caused between $3-4 billion in damage, mainly to Mexico City.

Now: Barack Obama is nearing the end of his second term as President, while Vladamir Putin is serving his third-term as President of Russia. Current tensions in Syria and the Ukraine, as well as new adoption laws and the granting of asylum to Edward Snowden, have strained the relationship between the two leaders.

The city of Kathmandu, Nepal was struck by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake April 25.  The unofficial count to date is more than 8,500 killed, 17,500 injured and a cost of $10 billion.

The flaperon of a Boeing 777 was discovered on the shore of the island of Reunion, a French territory off the coast of Madagascar, in late July. Confirmation came Sept. 3 that the debris was from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. MH 370 disappeared March 8, 2014 and the debris found on Reunion is the first, and to date only, clue into the fate of that flight.


Then: The cost of some items in 1985, when the median income was $12,747: a postage stamp was $.22, a loaf of bread $.74, a gallon of milk $1.98, average cost of a car was $6,495, an average house sold for $116,805 and gas was $1.20 per gallon.

Now: Those same items today, with a median income of $54,835: a postage stamp is $.49, a loaf of bread is $1.25, a gallon of milk costs $3.39, the average cost of a car is $21,000, an average home sells for $165,000 and gas is $2.30 per gallon.


Then: The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins, 38-16, in Super Bowl XIX, Villanova topped Georgetown to take home the NCAA men's basketball championship, the Lakers beat the Celtics in six games to win the NBA Championship while the Edmonton Oilers needed only five games to eliminate the Philadelphia Flyers and claim the Stanley Cup for the second straight year. Spend A Buck won the Kentucky Derby, but couldn't win all three Triple Crown races. The Kansas City Royals needed all seven games to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series and Oklahoma went 11-1 to win the National Championship for college football.

Now: The New England Patriots defeated the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24, to win Super Bowl XLIX, Duke topped Wisconsin to win the NCAA men's basketball championship, the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in six games to win the NBA Championship which was the same number the Blackhawks needed to dispose of the Lightning for their third Stanley Cup in six years. American Pharaoh won the Kentucky Derby...and the Preakness and Belmont Stakes to become the first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978. Major League Baseball is wrapping up its season, but the Royals are looking like a contender again after falling in seven games in 2014.

Pop Culture

Then: Out of Africa, the fifth highest grossing film of the year, won Best Picture for 1985. Sylvester Stallone had two films, Rambo: First Blood Part II and Rocky IV, gross over $100 million in the U.S., while the "Brat Pack" showed us how much fun detention can be in The Breakfast Club, but it was Steven Spielberg who again reminded us that he is the master of the summer blockbuster as Back to the Future was the year's top grossing film, bringing in $211 million.

Michael J. Fox was also captivating audiences on the small screen as Family Ties was the second most popular television show of the year, falling behind only The Cosby Show. Murder, She Wrote, 60 Minutes and Cheers round out the top five, but television in 1985 might best be remembered for the debut of The Late Show with David Letterman.

Madonna's "Like a Virgin" held the top spot on the Billboard Top 100 longer than any other song, but musicians in 1985 spent much of the year working together for different causes. USA for Africa released "We are the World," and Live Aid and Farm Aid concerts were held for the first time.

Now: To date, Jurassic World is the year's highest grossing film, bringing in nearly $650 million, but that could change with both The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens set to release later this year. Dwayne Johnson is looking like 2015's version of Stallone as San Andreas and Furious 7 have combined for over $500 million at the box office.

CBS is dominating television ratings; not counting sports or news broadcasts, boasting six of the top 10 most watched shows on television (based on 2014 end of year ratings). Zombies are the kings of cable as The Walking Dead continues to draw big ratings. While 1985 marked the debut of The Late Show, 2015 saw Letterman retire as host. Letterman wasn't the only talk show host to retire as Jon Stewart left the desk of The Daily Show after 17 years.

Born in 1985: Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, Academy Award nominee Keira Knightley, Cy Young winner David Price, Grammy winner Bruno Mars, Mashable founder Pete Cashmore.

Died in 2015: Blues legend B.B. King, director Wes Craven, actor Leonard Nimoy, former University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith, former New York Governor Mario Cuomo.
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