The Year in Review

Beginning a new decade and following an eventful year, 2021 has been described by many as a “rollercoaster.” The year brought its difficulties, and as it comes to conclusion, the world can reflect on the events that occurred and prepare for new beginnings in the upcoming year, 2022.  

Society was optimistic about the start of January 2021, as people recalled the events that occurred during 2020. The optimism did not prevail, as the new year began on a low note. Just six days into the new year, a crowd of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol Building. The “Save America Rally” began as a protest in an attempt to coup the election after Trump supporters suspected voter fraud, and it turned into a deadly riot. The event stunned the country.

“I vividly remember this event,” said sophomore Mae Dooling. “I was sitting in class and just could not fathom what was going on. It was certainly nothing like I had ever experienced, and was not the start of the new year our country was hoping for.”

Later in the month, on Jan. 20, President Biden was inaugurated. Biden’s inauguration was an offset to the event that occurred just weeks before, as it brought a rush of fame to inaugural poet Amanda Gorman and sparked the production of the Bernie Sanders meme. Sanders went viral after a photo of him at the inauguration was released. People all over social media began photoshopping Sanders in his mittens into anything imaginable: album covers, famous paintings, and even family photos. January began on a negative note but turned itself around and ended lightheartedly. 

February began with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ victorious win at Superbowl LIV that won Tom Brady his seventh Super Bowl ring. The road to Super Bowl LIV was a long one, and the added complications of COVID-19 made it difficult. The stadium was not able to hold its usual number of fans, and the seats at Raymond James stadium were instead filled with 30,000 cardboard cutouts of fans and celebrities. The Weeknd “blinded” viewers with his halftime performance, which featured many of his most famous songs includingCan’t Feel My Face” and “Earned It,” and it closed with the most streamed song of 2020, “Blinding Lights.” 

Shortly after the Super Bowl, the impeachment trial for Trump began. Trump became the first president to be impeached twice after allegedly inciting the incident that occurred at the Capitol Building in January. The trial stretched for four days, and ended with Trump being acquitted by the Senate.  

The beginning of March brought justice to George Floyd after the long-awaited trial of former officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was found guilty on two counts of murder in the death of Floyd. The verdict of the trial was a milestone for equality under the law, and citizens hoped it would move the country toward more accountability for police brutality. 

Shortly after came the establishment of the third COVID-19 vaccine: Johnson and Johnson. This vaccine is different from the Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines because it only requires one dosage. According to the CDC, the vaccine is proven to be 85% effective in preventing serious cases of coronavirus. The establishment of this third vaccine made getting vaccinated against coronavirus more readily available and gave people ages 18 and over more opportunity to contribute to stopping the spread. 

March also brought answers to why Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle quit being working members of the royal family in January 2020. Oprah Winfrey interviewed the couple, and it was broadcasted for the world to hear. The leave cost the prince his heir to the throne, and was mainly because of racism shown towards Markle.  

April began with a tragedy: Prince Phillip of Edinburgh passed away at the age of 99. Phillip was the longest-serving consort of any British monarch and beloved husband to Queen Elizabeth II. 

“Phillip was at the helm of many social projects, charities, organizations, and so much more,” said sophomore Olivia Lanteri. “You have someone who did a lot for Britain and the world. He will be deeply missed.”

Shortly after the death of Phillp, the streets of Minnesota were flooded with people protesting the shooting of Duante Wright. Wright was a 20-year-old black man that was shot by a former police officer Kim Potter. Potter claims that she meant to taser Wright but shot him instead. The officer who shot him resigned and was later arrested on charges of first- and second-degree manslaughter. The protests lasted a few days, and justice for Wright was served. 

On Apr. 14, President Biden delivered remarks to “end America’s longest war,” and he began to slowly withdraw the troops from Afghanistan and planned for them to be completely out of Afghanistan by Sept. 11. The troops had been stationed in Afghanistan since 2001.

Wildfires are a natural part of the California environment, but 2021 brought an early wildfire season that began in May. The devastating fires forced many Northern Californians to evacuate and leave all their belongings behind. The damage was astronomical, and the early fire season was a warning of the state’s severe drought. Meanwhile, in the Middle East, tensions between Israel and Palestine emerged. According to Human Rights Watch (, Palestinian armed groups launched more than 4,360 rockets toward Israel. The attacks were fatal and left hundreds of Israeli citizens injured. 

May 2021 ended with New York beginning to reopen after the heat of the pandemic. The New York capacity restriction was lifted, and businesses could return to their full capacity. Vaccinated individuals were not required to wear masks indoors or outdoors. Lifting the mask mandate was liberating, and after being closed for over a year, New York was back.  

June began with Juneteenth — which celebrates the abolishment of slavery — being observed as a federal holiday. It is a day to commemorate the healing of the country after slavery and promote equity and equality. From now on, schools and businesses will be closed on Juneteenth. 

July began with the U.S. troops being withdrawn from Afghanistan. The majority of troops were removed from the country, but some were left behind. The plan was done quicker than expected, and within just a few days, the Taliban had taken over the Afghan government. This was what the U.S. was trying to avoid, and the remaining U.S. troops were stuck in Afghanistan. 

Because the Olympics were postponed in 2020 due to the pandemic, they were held in July of 2021. U.S. gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the games after battling mental health issues and was recognized as a hero to many. Lydia Jacoby, a 17-year-old U.S. Olympic swimmer, celebrated after winning gold and being one of the youngest U.S. Olympic swimmers. The Olympics would finish at the beginning of Aug. and leave the U.S. with much triumph.

The Pfizer vaccine was fully approved by the FDA in August, and it encouraged people to get vaccinated more than ever. The Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines were expected to get approved, and Pfizer was the first. This made getting the vaccine more available than ever and helped soothe any concerns or doubts some had about the vaccine. 

As this was going on in the U.S., the Taliban’s takeover continued in Afghanistan. Two suicide bombers in Kabul, Afghanistan arranged a fatal attack that killed 13 U.S. soldiers who were unable to exit the country. Seeing this unfold was devastating, and there was no hesitation in getting the remaining troops out of the country. Shortly after the bombings, the Afghanistan War ended. The remaining U.S. troops were able to exit, and there were no U.S. personnel that remained. The future for Afghanistan is uncertain, and there was much divide on whether withdrawing the troops was the right decision.  

September commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Also during the month of September, news channels were flooded with the abduction of Gabby Petito, a Long Island influencer who disappeared on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. Petito was declared to be a missing person on Sept.11, and her body was later found in Wyoming. The death was confirmed to be a homicide, leaving Laundrie as a suspect. When the case was at its peak, Laundrie disappeared, and the police were on the hunt. 

The U.S. continued to face a border crisis as the Mexico border in Texas was transformed into a campground for migrants. The Texas government took the crisis into its own hands and began to handle it after Biden’s immigration policies faced opposition in Congress.

October brought the reopening of Broadway and live performances after being closed for months. The pandemic brought the longest Broadway shutdown ever, and many theater fans were extremely excited about the reopening. Only vaccinated individuals could attend the shows. Many classics, such as Hamilton and Wicked were back in session. 

Additionally, in October, a fatal accident with what was supposed to be a prop gun on the set of actor Alec Baldwin’s movie Rust occured. Baldwin was using a gun in the scene; the gun was loaded without Baldwin’s knowing, and this mistake killed a cinematographer on set.

On Nov. 1, many New York first responders lost their jobs after Mayor Bill Deblasio mandated the COVID-19 vaccine. This was a shock to many in NYC as almost 10,000 firefighters, police officers, and medics, and more left their employment behind. There was much debate on whether this was the best policy because without these workers, many questioned who was going to take care of New Yorkers. 

The new home for the New York Islanders, UBS Arena on Long Island, opened in November. The Islanders played their first game on Nov. 20, and since then, Harry Styles rocked the arena with the closing act of his tour. The arena houses almost 19,000 people, and there are many more concerts and games that will soon be played there. “I had such a great experience at the new arena,” said junior Mimi Berkowitz. “It is huge! There are so many places for food, and [there is] even a sensory room for those who cannot handle the volume of concerts or sports games.”  

November began the holiday season and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was able to occur like it normally does. Last year, the 2020 Macy’s parade only had balloons; but this year, the live performances in front of the Macy’s store and people lining the city streets were back. This brought back a sense of normalcy to the world.