“Be a Voice, Not an Echo” -Albert Einstein
2017 is finally coming down to the wire. A year ago I decided to write a review of 2016 and I ended the review with a hope that 2017 would be a better year. So, let’s look back at 2017 and remember the good times along with the bad and reflect on all the lessons we learned as people.
Americans started the year off with the inauguration of President Donald Trump on January 20th. Similarly, the French had their election this year starting in April and ending in May with the inauguration of Emmanuel Macron. Along with these were dozens of other elections, but the American and French particularly stood out due to the controversy around them.
This year there were also several brutal events such as the Manchester attack. On May 22, a young man detonated a homemade suicide bomb at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England killing 22 and injuring 59 others. Then, on October 1st, 58 people were shot dead in a shooting in Las Vegas and 26 additional people were killed in November at a church shooting in a small town near San Antonio, Texas. This being said, not all of this year’s horrors were man made. Starting in August, Hurricane Harvey devastated southern states such as Louisiana and Texas killing 77 people and destroying hundreds of thousands of homes. Then came Hurricane Irma killing 134 people in Florida and the islands south of it. Finally, Hurricane Maria hit multiple countries bordering the Atlantic ocean, most notably Puerto Rico, and directly killed 66 people but lead to the death of many more due to a lack of power, shelter, and resources, especially in island countries.
Despite these tragedies, we rose to the occasion and helped. First responders saved over 122,000 people and 5,000 pets after and during Hurricane Harvey and over 300 volunteer organizations rose to help victims of the storm. Relatives and strangers alike found room in their hearts and homes all around the United States for Irma evacuees. After the Manchester bombing, One Love Manchester was held, a concert that ended up raising millions upon millions of dollars for the families of the attack victims.
Even apart from these acts of kindness we found hope. On August 21st, Americans all across the country looked up and we saw a beautiful anomaly: a complete solar eclipse. Almost everywhere in the country you could see it, whether it be complete or partial. We watched online and read about a child born blind and deaf given the gift of being able to hear and see her mother for the first time.
We found happiness. We binged shows like Stranger Things, Riverdale, and 13 Reason’s Why. We listened to music that spoke to us like ‘Sign of the Times’ by Harry Styles. We watched the new Star Wars and the countless other movies of the year. We learned to laugh and smile an come together as a world community.
And most of all, we fought with resilience. Women raised awareness and brought attention to sexual harassment, its victims, and its effects through the ‘Me Too’ campaign. The women’s marches also took place to make it known that women are deserving of their rights and tens of millions of women marched nation wide in the United States. Also, women in Saudi Arabia finally earned the right to drive in September of this year.
So, in conclusion, if you ask me whether I think this year has been better than last, I will gladly tell you that it has. There is still kindness and hope in this world and that is what strengthens us to do good. Yes, there is bad, but there will always be bad. After all, it is the bad that truly allows us to see the good.
Here’s to 2017