Remember the days before text messaging? If not, don’t worry — it’s about the same as trying to recall the days before high-definition television.
Today marks 22 years since the first text message was sent by a young software designer in the United Kingdom. Since then, texting has become America’s favorite method of communication, with a 2013 study estimating that smartphone owners age 18 to 24 send more than 2,000 texts per month.
In honor of the anniversary of the first text message, here are nine of the most famous text messages ever sent:
Dec. 3, 1992
Neil Papworth, 22, of Great Britain sent the first ever text message from his computer to a friend’s phone. This holiday greeting didn’t feature a Santa Claus emoji.
“A second plane crashed into the other tower !!!! Something doesn’t seem right.”
Sept. 11, 2001
One of about 500,000 text messages sent to people’s pagers on 9/11, released in 2009 by WikiLeaks. The messages reveal a timeline of frantic, terrified people trying to figure out what happened and whether their loved ones were safe.
“See you later.”
Nov. 1, 2007
A text sent from Patrick Lumumba to Amanda Knox on the night of Meredith Kercher’s murder. The message’s meaning was scrutinized endlessly by investigators as the court case regarding Knox’s alleged involvement played out.
“Have you kept your ‘garden’ in shape?”
Finland’s foreign minister Ilkka Kanerva was fired after a scandal stemming from sexual text messages he sent to a stripper from his work phone.
“Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee.”
Future President Barack Obama’s campaign earned tons of credit after sending this text message to nearly 3 million people, announcing his running mate. The message “branded (Obama) as cutting edge,” according to an expert from Nielsen Mobile.
“Hello from Earth.”
A group of scientists in Australia gave people the chance to send a text message to outer space in hopes of reaching an alien being. The messages were transmitted to Gliese 581, a speculated area of life-supporting matter. The texts will not reach the planet until about 2029.
“Don’t f---ing talk to me. You almost just ruined my whole life.”
Oct. 4, 2009
The final message sent in arguably the most infamous sexting scandal of all time. Tiger Woods sent those words to porn actress Joslyn James, apparently ending the pair’s relationship which led to Woods’ divorce and the loss of several endorsement deals.
“Thatcher has died”
Canada’s Transport Minister John Baird set off a media frenzy when he texted those words. Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, then-84, was alive and well; the name Thatcher referred to Baird’s 16-year-old tabby cat.
“Mummy, tell the police that they must be quick. People are dying here!”
July 22, 2011
16-year-old Julie Bremnes sent that message to her mother during Anders Behring Breivik’s 2011 attack in Norway. The rampage left 77 people dead and hundreds injured; Bremnes texted her mother for over an hour during the attack because it was too dangerous to make a phone call.
Clint Davis is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis.