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The lasting images of 2021

The Washington Post Staff: “It was a year of the angry and the rebellious scaling walls, tearing down barriers, rising up to reverse reality. But it was also a year of carefully considered verdicts and hurriedly ended war, of mass migration and candlelight vigils, a year when many millions of people decided to take a shot, venture forth and return to life, together. It would be easy to sum up 2021 as a year of fear and division, and it was that. But this was also a more complicated year than many: It was a time when Americans hopped up on rage and fueled by distortions breached barricades and shattered glass, rebelling against their own country’s most solemn symbol of peaceful change, but it was also a year when other Americans held the powerful to account and chose to trust in democracy and science. The images of 2021 tell a complex yet dramatic story. There was fire and there was rain; the West burned and New York flooded. Earth itself seemed to confront people with one test after another. As temperatures rose and storms intensified, a volcano erupted in Iceland and an earthquake leveled Haiti, again. There was, perhaps above all, the terror of lethal disease, a second year of a virus that unraveled the fabric of daily life and managed to set people against each other in ways that defied reason. The usual questions born of insecurity — will we be okay? how can we help each other? — were joined by new uncertainties: Is this real? What should I believe? Why don’t people around me believe what I see is true?…”

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