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The Iranian hostage crisis ends as Ronald Reagan is sworn in as president. But the year is marked by assassins setting their sights on some of the world's most powerful leaders. Gunmen wound President Reagan and Pope John Paul II and Egypt's President Sadat is killed in a hail of bullets while reviewing a military parade.

  • Hostages released
  • Reagan shot
  • Pope John Paul II shot
  • O'Connor selected for Supreme Court
  • Sadat assassinated
  • Hostage crisis ends -- January 20, 1981

    The Iranian hostage crisis ends. An Algerian aircraft carries the 52 remaining Americans from Iran, ending the 444-day ordeal. The plane takes off immediately after Ronald Reagan is sworn in as president on January 20, and it lands in Algiers, before heading to the U.S. Air Force Base at Wiesbaden, West Germany. Former President Carter is present at their arrival and condemns Iran's treatment of the hostages.

    Arrival in Germany:
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    Carter responds:
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    Reagan shot -- March 30, 1981

    Wielding a .22 caliber "Saturday-night special," John Warnock Hinckley shoots President Reagan in the chest outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. The 25-year-old drifter with a history of psychological problems also shoots the president's press secretary, James Brady, in the incident. The president is rushed to George Washington University hospital and quickly recovers, although the gunman's bullet inflicts severe damage on Brady.

    CNN breaking news:
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    Pope John Paul II shot -- May 13, 1981

    While waving to a crowd from an open convertable in St. Peter's Square in May 1981, Pope John Paul II is struck by two bullets and wounded in the abdomen, right arm and left hand. Two bystanders are also shot. Police immediately arrest the assailant, identified as Mehmet Ali Agca, an escaped Turkish killer. An ambulance rushes the pontiff from the scene to a hospital. He undergoes a five-hour operation in which parts of his intestines are removed. By October, John Paul has fully recovered.

    The pontiff is rushed from the scene:
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    1980 -- 1981 -- 1982 -- 1983 -- 1984 -- 1985 -- 1986 -- 1987 -- 1988 -- 1989 -- 1990 -- 1991 -- 1992 -- 1993 -- 1994 -- 1995 -- 1996 -- 1997

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