It’s always fascinating to look back through the hundreds of stories we published each year to select Explore Big Sky’s Top Stories of the year. And 2021 was no exception. We covered both great progress and steps back. We reported on bravery and destruction. We wrote stories about selflessness and fear and loss.
Last year was, as Bill Gates and many others have said, the hardest year of their lives. A year ago, EBS published its first cover of 2021, a hopeful painting by our dear friend Kelsey Dzintars. The only headline on that cover read, “2021: A Vision of Hope.”
And we were hopeful. We all were. Hopeful that we’d ride right out of the pandemic, blasting down cultural barriers, toppling norms and breaking every record in the book in the name of freedom and patriotism and compassion and love.
That lasted about five days.
The Jan. 6 insurrection and storming of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. left the country crippled. I recall watching it with my team and our publisher in the newsroom, aghast. Not knowing what to do. It felt like when COVID-19 truly took hold. It felt like 9/11. No one knew what to do or how long it might last.
And we did what we do: we put one foot in front of the other. We rolled as best we could with the punches. And through the darkness and smoke, we began to notice the shimmers of light; the parts of our lives that we sometimes take for granted.
Yes, 2021 was a tough year. But so was 2020. And humanity showed its resilience yet again. We hope that the Top EBS Stories of the past year will help you—the way it has all of us at EBS—put life into perspective. To recall the loss and the love, the frustration and the joy, the beauty of another year gone by. And the hope of the year to come. We wish you all the best in 2022 and thank you for reading.
Happy New Year!
Joseph T. O’Connor, and the Outlaws