In 2021, the world confronted the second year of a global pandemic that continued its deadly toll despite the arrival of vaccines, Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to stop Joe Biden from becoming president, and the unmistakable realities of climate change.
These images, capture the pain, fear, sadness and joy that 2021 brought us.
The Capitol was placed under lockdown and Vice President Mike Pence left the floor of Congress as hundreds of protesters swarmed past barricades surrounding the building where lawmakers were preparing to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
Supporters of President Donald Trump climb the walls at the U.S. Capitol during a protest against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results on Jan. 6. (Stephanie Keith / Reuters)
Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., comforts Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., while taking cover as protesters disrupt the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6. (Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Demonstrators attempt to breach the Capitol after they had stormed the building on Jan. 6. (Victor J. Blue for Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Joe Biden is sworn in as president by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts on Jan. 20 at the Capitol. (Andrew Harnik / AP) February
Millions of customers lost power for days in subfreezing temperatures in Texas and more than 200 people died after a severe winter swept through the state.
People charge their cellphones and warm up inside a car near Austin, Texas, on Feb. 16. (Tamir Kalifa for The New York Times via Redux)
Bianca Dorsey visits the gravesite of Ahmaud Arbery at New Springfield Baptist Church on Feb. 23 in Waynesboro, Ga. Arbery, a Black man, was shot and killed while jogging near Brunswick, Ga. (Sean Rayford / Getty Images)
A train passes a railroad crossing surrounded by floodwaters from rain and melting snow in Nidderau near Frankfurt, Germany, on Feb. 3. (Michael Probst / AP) March
The huge container ship disrupted global marine traffic after it blocked the canal for nearly a week.
Workers stand next to a container ship that was hit by strong winds and ran aground in Egypt’s Suez Canal on March 24. (Suez Canal Authority via Reuters)
Graham Bloomsmith and Cynthia Shi hold each other outside Gold Spa where three women were shot and killed on March 18 in Atlanta. (Elijah Nouvelage for The Washington Post via Getty Images) April
Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in Floyd’s death, a verdict that could send him to prison for life. The death of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, in May 2020 touched off international protests against police brutality and racial injustice.
A man reacts to news of the conviction of a former police officer, Derek Chauvin, on murder charges in the death of George Floyd, in Minneapolis on April 20. (Carlos Barria / Reuters)
Queen Elizabeth II takes her seat during the funeral for her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England, on April 17. (Jonathan Brady / WPA Pool via Getty Images) May
The exchange of fire between Israel and Gaza killed more than 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, and a dozen Israelis, including two children.
The Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system, left, intercepts rockets fired by Hamas toward southern Israel from Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip overnight on May 14. Israel bombarded Gaza with artillery and airstrikes in response to a new barrage of rocket fire from the Hamas-run enclave. (Anas Baba / AFP via Getty Images)
Palestinian children and family members attend a candlelight vigil to condemn the killing of children and civilians in Gaza City on May 25. The vigil was held over the rubble of homes destroyed by an Israeli military strike following an 11-day escalation between Israel and Gaza military factions. (Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Lava flows from the Fagradalsfjall volcano on the Reykjanes Peninsula in southwestern Iceland on May 11. (Miguel Morenatti / AP) June
School districts across the country are struggling to address accusations that administrators are indoctrinating students in progressive ideas about race, gender and sexuality.
Angry parents and community members protest after a Loudoun County School Board meeting was halted because the crowd refused to quiet down, in Ashburn, Va., on June 22. A discussion about a proposed pronoun policy for students ended in disarray and an arrest. (Evelyn Hockstein / Reuters)
A security officer asks members of the news media to step back as, from left, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet during a U.S.-Russia summit at Villa La Grange in Geneva on June 16. (Denis Balibouse / Pool via AP)
Search and rescue teams look for survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 30 in Surfside, Fla. (Giorgio Viera / AFP via Getty Images) July
The Dixie Fire would become the second largest in recorded state history, burning more than 963,000 acres. The fire started on July 13 and was fully contained on Oct. 25, according to fire officials. The cause is under investigation.
A home burns as flames from the Dixie fire tear through the Indian Falls neighborhood of unincorporated Plumas County, Calif., on July 24. (Josh Edelson / AFP via Getty Images)
Volunteers and residents clean up their shops and restaurants following severe flash flooding in Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany, on July 18. (Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images) August
People try to climb on top of a plane at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 16, after a swift U.S. withdrawal from the country. (Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images)
A U.S. soldier points his gun toward an Afghan passenger at the Kabul airport on Aug. 16. (Wakil Kohsar / AFP via Getty Images)
Floodwaters left behind by Hurricane Ida in LaPlace, La., on Aug. 30. The storm, wielding some of the most powerful winds ever to hit the state, drove a wall of water inland when it thundered ashore as a Category 4 hurricane and reversed the course of part of the Mississippi River. (Luke Sharrett for Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Theophilus Charles, 70, sits inside his home in Houma, La., on Aug. 30 after it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Ida. (Adrees Latif / Reuters) September
Broadway shows began to reopen to live audiences for the first time since the pandemic began nearly 18 months earlier.
Audience members cheer at the Richard Rogers Theatre in New York City at the end of the return performance of “Hamilton” on Sept. 14. (Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)
U.S. Olympic Gymnast Aly Raisman listens as NCAA and world champion gymnast Maggie Nichols testifies during a Senate Judiciary hearing about the investigation into Larry Nassar on Sept. 15. Nichols and other U.S. Gymnasts gave testimony on the abuse they experienced at the hand of Nassar, the former U.S. women’s national gymnastics team doctor, and the FBI’s lack of urgency when handling their cases. (Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images)
A U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19. (Paul Ratje / AFP via Getty Images)
Orphaned mountain gorilla, Ndakazi, lies in the arms of her caregiver, Andre Bauma, at the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Sept. 21, shortly before her death, which the park confirmed on Sept. 26. (Brent Stirton / Getty Images)
A fisherman feeds whale sharks in the waters around Tan-Awan, a small town in Cebu Province in the Philippines, in September. The chance to swim with the world’s biggest fish drew tourists, but conservation groups denounce the hand-feeding that keeps the gentle creatures around. (Hannah Reyes Morales for The New York Times via Redux) October
Adrian James, 2, who tested positive for Covid-19, breathes with the help of a ventilator at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., on Oct. 5. (Callaghan O’Hare / Reuters)
A house is covered by volcanic ash on La Palma in Spain’s Canary Islands on Oct. 30. (Emilio Morenatti / AP) November
A Wisconsin jury found Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty in the fatal shooting of two men during protests in Kenosha last year, capping a trial that touched on issues of gun rights and race.
Kyle Rittenhouse breaks down on the stand as he testifies about his encounter with the late Joseph Rosenbaum during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Nov. 10. (Sean Krajacic / Pool via Reuters)
People react outside the Glynn County Courthouse after the jury reached a guilty verdict in the trial of William “Roddie” Bryan, Travis McMichael and Gregory McMichael, charged in the February 2020 death of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, in Brunswick, Ga., on Nov. 24. (Marco Bello / Reuters)
Four students were fatally shot at the school in Oxford Township, roughly 30 miles north of Detroit. The suspected shooter was a sophomore at the school.
Allison Hepp, 15, holds a candle while leaning against her brother, Benjamin Hepp, 17, during a prayer vigil after the Oxford High School shootings on Nov. 30 at LakePoint Community Church in Oxford, Mich. (Jake May / The Flint Journal via AP) December
Dozens of devastating tornadoes roared through five states, leaving more than 80 people dead in what President Joe Biden said was “one of the largest” storm outbreaks in U.S. history.
Desiray Cartledge, 3, stands in the rubble of her house in Dawson Springs, Ky., on Dec. 12. (Austin Anthony for The Washington Post via Getty Images)
A couple embrace as they survey tornado damage on Dec. 12 in Mayfield, Ky. (Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images)