July 2nd, they arrive.

July 3rd, they attack.

On January 28, 1996, there America sat, stuffed with pizza and beer, happily watching the Cowboys play the Steelers in the Super Bowl, when -- HOLY SH*T! A GIANT SPACESHIP JUST BLEW UP THE WHITE HOUSE!

The 'Independence Day' trailer is probably the most influential of the last 15 years, and for good reason. Clocking in at a brief 30 seconds, everyone who watched it didn't soon forget what they saw. These days, with trailers appearing well over a year before the film itself is released, it seems odd to point out that waiting from late January to early July -- a mere five months -- felt like an absolute eternity. On top of that, we knew next to nothing about it. The commercial gave us practically no information -- it didn't tell us who was in it, nor the director, not even a release date. Just a tantalizing "Coming this summer ..." (Check out the ad here.)

When 'ID4,' as it came to be called, finally did arrive in theaters on July 3 (or July 2, if you were lucky enough to live near certain canny theaters), it became an instant box office smash and a cultural touchstone. It launched the a film career of a somewhat obscure TV actor / sometime-rapper named Will Smith and made its director/producer team of Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin the kings of Hollywood.

In honor of this alien-invasion classic's 15th birthday (Has it been that long? Sigh ...), we at Moviefone thought it'd be fun to reminisce on when we went to see it that summer. After you read our recollections, be sure to let us know your story too.

Hit the jump to revisit a dog who barely escapes certain fiery death, a movie screen set ablaze seemingly by the magic of movies, and one of the all-time most inspirational movie speeches.