9/11 -- This is obvious. September 11, 2001 is clearly one of the most pivotal days in the history of the United States. In the previous century, there are probably only a couple of comparable events: the bombing of Pearl Harbor, V-E day, the moon landing, the JFK assassination. For several generations of Americans, 9/11 will be the most historical day of their life.
The Election of Barack Obama -- President Obama's election was historical in so many ways. Obviously it was historic that an African American was elected President. It also marked a transition to a new generation -- Obama is 15 years younger than Bush or Clinton (and let's not even mention McCain.) Obama is not only a Democrat, but is not from the more conservative, Southern Democrats of Clinton and Jimmy Carter.
Social Media -- Here's where maybe my perspective is skewed by living in Silicon Valley. Social media is not a single event, in fact it is a progression of events. To me, it really started with blogging and YouTube, and then exploded with MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter. It is a fundamental change in the Internet. Every user is a creator of content, as well as a consumer. It is the great democratizing effect of the Internet, and it is only getting started. Even now we are starting to see how businesses, celebrities, etc. realize that not only can they use social media as a channel to customers and fans, but that it is a two-way channel.
Hurricane Katrina -- What made Hurricane Katrina so pivotal is that opened the eyes of Americans. It made people realize that many of their fellow Americans live in awful conditions. The divide between socioeconomic classes in America were never so obvious as during Katrina. When Kanye West went on TV and said that George Bush didn't care about black people, he wasn't just being a jackass, he was stating a sentiment shared by a lot of people.
The iPhone -- What did I say earlier about having a Silicon Valley perspective? Anyways... The iPhone has completely changed so many things for so many people. In the 90's, The Internet changed people's lives by bringing them information. Now the iPhone lets them carry it around in their pocket. Other phones were certainly moving in that direction, but the iPhone broke through by combining a large display with highly usable touch based interface. This revolution continued with the release of the App Store. Now don't get me wrong. A lot of other phones are following suit -- but that's exactly why the iPhone was so historical.
That's my short list. I know it's obviously biased from me being American and living in Silicon Valley. What did I miss? What doesn't belong?