2021: Year in Review

2021 was a year in which both nothing and everything seemed to happen, with the pandemic and political and social upheaval dominating our city’s life. Here’s some of what we documented this year:

January 6th and its aftermath

Most of the Federal buildings were fenced off and guarded after the January 6th attack.

National Guards and troops without identification were everywhere, and helicopters flew overhead.

There were tributes to the officers who had been injured or killed on January 6th.

The transition to a new administration

Trump’s helicopter leaving the White House on the morning of the Inauguration:

©Angela N.

Pennsylvania Avenue heavily guarded shortly before the Inauguration:

©Angela N.

While the Inauguration was closed to the public, on the night before the Inauguration, the celebratory Columns of Light were visible from many locations in the city – 56 columns of light projected on the Mall to represent the states and territories.

©Miki Jourdan

The pandemic

It’s impossible to visualize the scope and the horror of the losses caused by the pandemic, but artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg’s project of flags on by the Washington Monument captured it in a profound way – with one flag representing each COVID death, and many of them inscribed to the loved ones lost.

Aerial view from the Washington Monument ©Angela N.
Artist Suzanne Brennan Firstenberg ©Rob Klug
Congressional delegation to the memorial, including Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer ©Victoria Pickering
©Rob Klug

The new

D.C. welcomed several new developments and restorations, including the new Frederick Douglass Bridge, the re-opening of the Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building, the permanent installation of Black Lives Matter Plaza, the transformation of Pershing Park into the new WWI Memorial, the reconfigured Franklin Park, and the re-opening of MLK Library.

Frederick Douglass Bridge

©Miki Jourdan

Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building

©Rob Klug

Black Lives Matter Plaza

©Angela N.

Franklin Park

©Rob Klug

World War I Memorial

©Miki Jourdan

MLK Library

©Victoria Pickering

Social justice

So many social issues were subjects of rallies and demonstrations in 2021 but remain largely unresolved, including: Black Lives Matter, poverty and homelessness, the quest for D.C. statehood, gun violence, Asian hate, abortion, voting rights, the climate crisis, women’s issues, and immigration reform.

Black Lives Matter

©Miki Jourdan

Poverty and homelessness

Representative Cori Bush slept on the Capitol steps for several days to bring attention to the crisis for the homeless during the pandemic. ©Miki Jourdan

The quest for D.C. statehood

The bill for D.C. statehood passed in the House this year but is stalled in the Senate.

Representative Jamie Raskin outside the House just before he gives a powerful speech in favor of the House vote. ©Victoria Pickering

Gun violence

Gun Violence Memorial sponsored by Gabby Giffords’ foundation ©Victoria Pickering

Asian hate

Rally against Asian Hate, 3/21/21. ©Miki Jourdan


Supreme Court, 11/1/21 ©Victoria Pickering

Voting rights

Reverend Jesse Jackson leading a voting rights march to the White House. ©Victoria Pickering

Climate crisis

Climate protestors in front of the White House ©Victoria Pickering

Women’s March

©Miki Jourdan

Immigration reform

©Victoria Pickering

Memorials and remembrances

Veteran’s Day

Memorial ceremony for Bob Dole

Tom Hanks speaking at the memorial service for Bob Dole at the WWII Memorial, with Elizabeth Dole and General Mark Milley in the front row. ©Angela N.

Some traditional events return

While many events were postponed during this second year of the pandemic, some came back – Fiesta D.C., Pride, July 4th, Juneteenth, Art All Night, the High Heel Race, and the free Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

Fiesta D.C.

©Miki Jourdan


©Miki Jourdan


July 4th

Art All Night

The High Heel Race

Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

Step Afrika at the Kennedy Center ©Victoria Pickering

Solace in the natural world

There’s so much nature even in the center of the city, and many of us turned to more closely observing the natural world during the pandemic.

Baby Xiao Qi Ji celebrated his first birthday at the zoo.

©Angela N.

And the cicadas invaded everywhere.

©Victoria Pickering

Metro meltdown

After a derailment, all of Metro’s newer 7000-series trains were removed from service for a period that is still ongoing – a major blow to the hope of better public transportation infrastructure.

©Victoria Pickering

Finding joy

The 50-year tradition of the Malcolm X Drum Circle continued each Sunday.

@Rob Klug

Streets were occasionally closed to allow people to have fun walking and dancing along the way.

Open Streets on Georgia Avenue. ©Angela N.

Informal music gatherings on porches

©Rob Klug

Wishing our city and its residents the best for 2022.

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To see more photos from the topics covered above, here are the links to full stories:

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  1. Thanks for a remarkable collection that so accurately captures 2021. The good. The bad. The ugly. The beautiful.

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