As March 2021 rolls around, Americans are observing the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, taking time to reflect on the events of the past year. 2020 was arguably the most unorthodox year of our lifetime. The year began with the Australian brush fires. The fires, fueled by unprecedented heat waves, destroyed well over 11 million hectares of land as well as 2,500 homes. Firefighters and animal rescue volunteers worked around the clock to preserve life and property, but the fires were not contained until mid-February.

Of course, the next devastating turn of events entailed the spread of COVID-19. This virus, originating in Wuhan, China, quickly spread across the globe, causing schools, churches, and businesses to close their doors and embrace virtual methods of meeting. Due to the pandemic, the stock market witnessed the worst single-day point drop on record, spelling economic uncertainty for countless individuals.

Over the summer, racial tensions mounted as presidential hopefuls continued to campaign in spite of coronavirus-related limitations on social gatherings. Rumors of invading hordes of “murder hornets” only helped to stoke the growing unrest in America.

Additionally, several beloved celebrities and entertainers were lost during 2020. Among these departed legends are Alex Trebek, Eddie Van Halen, Kobe Bryant, and Chadwick Boseman.

Although the vast majority of headlines during 2020 could be considered, negative, discouraging, or even frightening, this year cultivated a largely unseen force for good that was strengthened by the seemingly insurmountable odds. At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, seamstresses across the country tirelessly fashioned cloth masks for healthcare workers to combat the PPE shortage. Auto makers modified their vehicle assembly plants to produce badly needed ventilators, and a host of distilleries began producing hand sanitizer in response the the shortages the emerging crisis imposed.

As the pandemic wore on, many do-gooders took advantage of the opportunity to help protect our environment. Individuals and organizations alike pitched in to clean up our rivers, lakes, and oceans, including Ocean Voyages Institute, a Hawaii-based group that set the record for the largest amount of waste removed from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in a single haul. Singers and musicians, to lift the spirits of would-be concertgoers, began performing virtual concerts, and pet adoptions and fostering saw a dramatic increase throughout lockdown.

2020 was chaotic to say the least. However, the resiliency of the human spirit allowed us to persevere. We survived 2020!

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