2021: Year in Review

Evelyn Lowen, Sentry Reporter

As 2020 came to a close, many were hopeful that the drama and disaster from the past year would not carry into 2021. People thought, with good reason, that there is no possible way it could get any worse. However, 2021 proved to be just as unfortunate for many. 2021 marked the second year of the global pandemic and was truly a year like no other. As we dive into 2022, it is important to recap the events that took place in this past year, in the United States and around the world. From the riot on the Capitol and the creation of COVID-19 vaccines to the tragic death of Betty White, this year was nothing short of hectic. 


Just a few days into 2021, on January 6, supporters of the former president Donald Trump stormed the United States Capitol in hopes of overturning the recent election. These rioters were extremely distraught over the results and believed they were fake. A few weeks later, on January 20, president Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris were sworn in to lead the country. 


On February 7, Tom Brady won his seventh Super Bowl during his first year playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This win was the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory, as they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs in a score of 31-9. Two days later, the Trump impeachment trial began as the Senate ruled that the impeachment of the former president was constitutional. Later in the month, on February 18, millions of people watched the rover Perseverance successfully land on Mars. 


On March 8, Iowa governor Kim Reynolds passed a law that made it more challenging for citizens to vote. The bill shortened the period for early voting from 29 days to 20 and caused the polls to close an hour earlier. This law was controversial as many believe it is imperative to encourage and provide access to citizens to vote. Halfway around the world, the coup in Myanmar reached its deadliest day on March 15. The Myanmar security killed around 38 people during these violent protests. Additionally, one of the largest container ships in the world blocked all traffic in the Suez Canal in Egypt for six days. On March 23, the ship turned sideways and disrupted the global shipping system. 


Within the first week of this month, on April 3, four million COVID-19 vaccines were distributed throughout the country. The vaccine has been crucial in flattening the curve and keeping hospitals open for people in need. Scientific research suggests that the Delta variant entered the United States early in the month and alarmed many as it quickly became extremely contagious. Later in April, Derek Chauvin was found guilty for three counts of murder for the death of George Floyd. After many powerful and heartbreaking protests throughout the nation, he was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for his crime. 


On May 7, the American oil pipeline system, Colonial Pipeline, was hacked and suffered a ransom cyberattack. People all across the East Coast rushed to gas stations and waited in record breaking hour-long lines in hopes of filling up their tanks. This quickly led to nationwide gas supply shortages and chaos. Around the world in May, there were many acts of violence that left people heartbroken. There was a school shooting in Russia, a bomb attack at a school in Kabul, a stabbing in New Zealand and a cable car accident in Italy. 


In Kentucky on June 7, a wrong-way collision on a highway resulted in the death of six people. About two weeks later, on June 16, the Senate unanimously voted to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday that celebrates the end-date of slavery in the United States. On June 24, a 12-story building in Miami, Florida collapsed, killing 98 residents. The structure of the building was investigated to find the cause of its destruction. 


Postponed due to COVID-19 in 2020, the Tokyo Olympic games finally took place from July 23 to August 8. Team USA took home 39 gold medal trophies and 119 total medals from the games. On July 7, Trump sued Google, Facebook and Twitter, claiming censorship. The lawsuit directly targeted the CEOs of the companies. In Utah on July 26, a sandstorm caused a 20 vehicle pileup on the road. This storm had strong winds of 51 mph and killed seven people.  


On August 10, New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo resigned amidst 11 sexual assualt allegations from different women. Cuomo’s decision to resign was made before state officials began the process of impeachment. Six days later, On August 16, Biden increased the government-issued food assistance, which was implemented in October. At the end of this month, on August 30, American troops were withdrawn from Afghanistan after 20 years of war. 


On September 1, Texas governor Greg Abbot passed The Heartbeat Act, a controversial abortion law that banned all abortions once a heartbeat is detected, even in cases of rape and incest. A heartbeat can usually be detected after six weeks of pregnancy. Two weeks later, on September 15, Simone Biles testified against the FBI for the handling of the Larry Nassar case. Nassar, the former coach of the United States Olympic gymnastics team, was convicted of sexual abuse and sent to prison for life. The FBI allegedly knew of the misconduct and allowed Nassar to walk free another year, potentially allowing for more victims. Also on September 15, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched the first all-civilian crew into orbit. The expedition, named Inspiration4, lasted three days and included no professional astronauts.  


On October 29, the FDA approved the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds for emergency use. This approval was extremely significant in protecting childrens’ lives from the virus. One day later, police forces in Northern Virginia, Maryland and D.C. increased their presence as they investigated a threat to the safety of the area. There were 11 mass shootings across the nation over Halloween weekend alone. 


The Atlanta Braves won the World Series on November 2, defeating the Houston Astros. This was the first championship for the Braves since 1995. At the Travis Scott concert on November 5, ten people died from a crowd surge. This sold-out concert held approximately 50,000 people. Three days later, on November 8, the United States officially opened its borders to foreign travelers. After nearly 20 months apart, many families were finally reunited with their loved ones. 


On December 5, the parents of the school shooter from Oxford High School in Michigan were found and detained. They were charged with involuntary manslaughter after their son, Ethan Crumbley, shot and killed four people at his school. The amount of violence and school shootings has steadily increased along with the introduction of the pandemic. On December 15, Keechant Sewell became the first female police chief in New York City. Sewell has been on service for 23 years and will serve as the first female leader in the 176 years since its establishment. On the last day of 2021, Betty White passed away, sending shockwaves throughout the country. Not only was White talented on-screen, she was also admired for her leadership in the movie industry as one of the first powerful women in Hollywood. 

With the surge of the COVID-19 variant Omicron, 2022 is already off to an intriguing start. The Sentry is hopeful that this new year brings you good health, prosperity and growth.