2020: A year in review

Looking back at the year


Photo by Abby Elliott

Story by Cate Rounds, editor in chief

Dec. 31, 2019, at 11:59 pm. 

It was 10 seconds until midnight. The party was in full swing. Sparklers were lit, drinks were poured and friends filled every corner of the room. 

 10… 9… 8… 

The night suddenly shifted to anticipation. As the clock ticked down, excitement enveloped each individual as the new year inched closer and closer.   

7… 6…   

Everyone had high hopes for their “2020 vision,” and it was evident in their resolutions. Travel more.  Be more social. Cry less. Expectations were high, and the ball had nearly dropped. 

5… 4… 

They sat with bated breath. The year 2019 was almost over. Things already looked brighter. 

3… 2… 1…   HAPPY NEW YEAR!    

Fireworks ignited the night. Cheers rang through the city. Loved ones embraced, and some even stole a midnight kiss. Little did we know this would be one of the last normal days we would have.


The new year got off to a rocky start with the assassination of Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani, on Jan. 3. With the drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump, the new tensions between the two countries had people fearing the possibility of a third world war. As if things couldn’t get any worse, this was also the same month that beloved professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, Gianna, tragically passed away in a helicopter crash. As the month came to a close, the first case of the coronavirus had entered the United States.


After nine months of intense wildfires in Australia, heavy rainfall in New South Wales helped put an end to the most destructive bushfire season Australia had ever seen. The fires burnt close to 46 million acres of land, destroying 5,900 buildings and killing 479 people, 34 directly from the fires and 445 from smoke inhalation. Close to 3 billion animals were either killed or harmed in some way due to the destruction. In the world of film, the 92nd Academy Awards made history by awarding “Parasite” the Oscar for Best Picture. This was the first time a foreign film had ever won this award.


COVID-19 numbers jumped significantly from 24 cases in February to almost 200,000 cases. On March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic.  Many schools decided to move to online learning as the country went into quarantine. It was here when platforms like Zoom and Google Meets became our best friend and our worst enemy. Due to travel restrictions and many people being out of work, the economy suffered greatly. March 12, now known as “Black Thursday,” was the stock market’s single worst day since 1987.


As April Fool’s Day approached, one could only hope that all of these incidents were all some big prank, but alas, there were no jokes in sight. Face masks and social distancing practices were required in many cities, and stay at home orders flooded the nation. Not too many people were happy with these new restrictions and even took to the streets to protest the government mandates. But as cases reached over a million in the United States, it was obvious that these regulations would not be going away anytime soon.


The nation became restless as social justice issues engulfed America. After being pinned down at the neck for nine minutes by police officer Derek Chauvin, George Floyd became a face of the Black Lives Matter movement and his phrase, “I can’t breathe,” became a symbol for change. Protests flooded the streets rallying against police brutality, and the group continued to fight for justice throughout the summer. And things only got crazier from there. On May 4, Asian giant hornets, better known as “murder hornets,” were spotted for the first time in the United States.


The Black Lives Matter movement expanded worldwide as people continued to fight against police brutality against Black people. The protests escalated as the predominantly peaceful rallies turned into the violent looting and burning of stores in certain cities. The fight to get rid of statues honoring the Confederacy and slave owners increased during this time as well. Some went as far as to demolish the statues themselves, as a group of protesters did in Bristol, England, by throwing a statue of slave trader Edward Colston in the River Avon.


The demand for justice continued throughout summer; the government and popular culture reflected this. The Washington Redskins announced it will be changing its team name, and the Pentagon banned the Confederate flag from government properties. Unfortunately, even as huge strides were being made, the world lost two important Civil Rights figures: Reverend CT Vivian, 95, and John Lewis, 80. The world even lost Chadwick Boseman, otherwise known as the “Black Panther,” after a four-year battle with colon cancer.


As the 2020 presidential election approached, it was now time to nominate candidates. Joe Biden secured the Democratic nomination and made Kamala Harris his running mate. The Republican Party also officially began the process to renominate Donald Trump for a second term. Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana off the Texas border as a Category 4 hurricane. The storm destroyed countless buildings, including 10,000 homes, and many students had to find new arrangements for school.


In September, things literally erupted in smoke. The wildfires that began in Northern California had crept up into Oregon, then all the way up to Washington state, leaving a horrifying orange tint in the sky. As the fires raged on, one fire was put out on the other side of the United States. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice and advocate for gender equality, died at the age of 87 due to complications with pancreatic cancer. The first presidential debate left us all confused going into the election after the candidates spent most of the time bickering, interrupting and name-calling.


Only a few days after the trainwreck that was the first presidential debate, Donald Trump tested positive for COVID-19. This event caused a lot of controversy due to the fact that the president was checked into his own isolation room at the hospital and was given drugs reserved for severe cases of COVID-19. The world was shocked with another celebrity death when Eddie Van Halen, co-founder and guitarist of the band Van Halen, died on Oct. 6. As the month came to a close, Amy Coney-Barrett was appointed to the Supreme Court only a month after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death.


The 2020 election was finally here. This election now holds the record for highest percentage of voter turnout, 66.8%, with a record number of early votes. The race was neck and neck as votes continued to be counted. Just when it seemed like Trump had won his second term, Georgia and Pennsylvania turned blue last minute securing the win for Joe Biden with 273 electoral votes. This vote not only made history with voter turnout, but it also made history by employing the first Black and the first female vice president, Kamala Harris.