I think we can all agree that 2020 was nothing like anyone could have predicted. 2020 was supposed to be a great year and we were supposed to be “going into 2020 with 2020 vision.” There were so many things on the calendar, too, that made 2020 a perfect year: Valentine's day on a Friday, Cinco de Mayo on taco Tuesday, 4th of July on a Saturday, Halloween also on a Saturday, Christmas is on a Friday, New Year’s starts with a 3 day weekend, and it’s a leap year. But let’s take a look back at what a lot of us probably consider the longest year of our lives.
In January, Australia had to declare a state of emergency due to the insane wildfires that were going occurring. Over 10 million hectares of land were completely scorched and tens of thousands of animals, many endangered, were killed. Shortly after the U.S. declared an airstrike on an Iranian major general and talk of a third world war emerged in the media. The idea of a “WWIII” was not taken very seriously, as it became a funny meme and trend among Gen Z. Then, one of the most tragic events of 2020, the legend, Kobe Bryant and his young daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter accident. The death of not only Kobe, but the seven others who were killed, several of them children, hit the world very hard.
On a lighter note, in February, the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl. This win for the Chiefs was the first since 1970. Patrick Mahomes, the rookie quarterback, led them to their victory with a score of 31-20. This was one of the few positive events in 2020. Donald Trump faced an impeachment trial on the charges that he asked the Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son. The Senate later acquitted him on February 5th.
March is definitely the most memorable month for me. The COVID-19 outbreak has officially been labeled as a pandemic. Due to this, schools, businesses, churches and all non-essential places were closed. The first stay at home order was put into place in California on March 9th. Social distancing and mask wearing was then implemented everywhere. Schools started their first weeks of online learning, thinking they would go back to school. So many kids were excited because they didn’t have to go to school for a week, but I cried on that last day. I knew that things weren't magically going to go back to the way they were in a week, and I knew I was going to be bad at learning online. I’m sure many students just like me felt the same anxieties I did once they knew we were learning online indefinitely. Others still remained happy to not be physically at school every day.
In April, we were through our first month of quarantine, and by then we knew there was no hope of going back to school until next year. Online learning grew harder for many students and they now wished they could be at school. Many people were staying up all hours of the night and sleeping all day, not having any energy to do anything else. Sports and other extracurriculars were cancelled, so the only thing to do was stay at home. Mental health became a huge issue during this time, and the suicide rates greatly increased . The amount of stress and confusion during this month was evident. Nobody knew what was going to happen, or how dangerous the coronavirus really was.
In May, George Floyd was killed as a result of police brutality. His death, along with those of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, sparked a fire in many people leading to protests and riots. The Black Lives Matter movement gathered many people to protest against police brutality holding signs with Floyd’s words of, “I can’t breathe.” Although some of the protests did get violent, over 90% of them were completely peaceful. May also marked the end of school for many students, and the beginning of “summer.” This was only the second month of quarantine, but the months felt so long.
In June, there was another Ebola outbreak and it killed five people in the city of Mbandaka, Dominican Republic of Congo. I remember when I saw this all over social media and everyone was alarmed but nobody was really scared. This was another one of those things that became a meme, just like how Coronavirus did in the beginning. June was another slow and dragging month of quarantine. At this point we had been inside of our homes for over 80 days.
In July, there was a suspected case of the bubonic plague in Mongolia. The city of Bayannur is on a Level 3 warning of plague prevention until the end of the year. The Nantes Cathedral in France caught fire, and is currently being investigated as possible arson. Colorado also experienced their own set of wildfires, and they were the biggest in all of their history. July was our last month of “summer” and it had been over 100 days since our lives drastically changed.
August came around and we were all back in school, but this time online. It was a strange feeling not being able to meet new teachers or classmates in person especially for those in my situation: being the new girl at school and knowing absolutely nobody. Sadly, in August, Chadwick Boseman lost his quiet battle to colon cancer. The Beirut explosion also occurred this month and was absolutely tragic. The explosion, caused by a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city Beirut, Lebanon, was horrific and the explosion resulted in at least 204 deaths, 6,500 injuries and $15 billion in damages. And on top of everything else, 300,000 people were left homeless.
September was a smoky month because of the wildfires going on in Southern California, all caused by a gender reveal gone wrong. These fires have been recorded as being the worst in all of the state’s history with over 4 million acres burned. The fires destroyed over 10,000 homes and caused over 30 deaths. Also in September, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away at the age of 87 due to some complications with her pancreatic cancer. She was a huge figure in the fight for the rights and equality of women and will forever be known for her legacy.
October was a huge month for sports history. The Lakers took a victory in the NBA finals against the Miami Heat. This win puts the Lakers at a tie with the Boston Celtics for the most championships won. The Dodgers also took a win against the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. They hadn’t won the World Series since 1988, so this was a huge deal for them and all of their fans. I remember all of the fireworks going off around my house when I was sitting outside and I could hear people cheering all around me. President Donald Trump tested positive for the coronavirus this month and also nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be a supreme court justice. She won with a 52-48 Senate vote.
November was election month and so much was happening. It was a very hostile atmosphere between Trump and Biden supporters. I worked the polls for the election and didn’t experience anything bad, but you could feel the tension. Joe Biden won the election with 306-232 electoral votes. There was much talk about voter fraud, but no specific evidence to be found. President-elect Biden will begin his presidency in January 2021.
December, finally we have made it! It definitely seemed like the longest 12 months ever. But this month, so far, another stay at home order was put into effect starting on December 3rd due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Things are being shut down again, but as long as you are doing something outdoors, maintaining social distancing, and wearing a mask, it seems to be okay. There also was a curfew implemented that says we can’t be out before 5am or past 10pm, unless for work, or an emergency.
2020 was definitely an insane year, but we can only hope it will get better in the future. Everyone still seems to believe that once we say “Happy New Year” everything is going to magically go away and we can go back to our normal lives, but that sadly does not appear to be the case. We still need to remain as safe as we can, so we can get through this pandemic. There are also claims of the world ending, but those words have been said for centuries and I can almost guarantee that they were said during every plague, pandemic and epidemic in history. Let’s keep our hopes high and push for a new start in 2021!