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2012: What will you remember?

By Tyler McCarthy
On December 5, 2012

As we wrap up the semester as well as the year 2012, it's important to look back on where we've been and how we got here. It is my opinion that nothing helps measure a year better than collective memories. There are certain pop culture phenomena that break out of the background and into the mainstream. These phenomena are able to unite us as a collective group. Below are my top five moments of 2012 that united us this year.
The London Olympics: From July 27 to August 12, no living room was complete without the Summer Games being on the television screen. While these games didn't have the fervor surrounding a single man like the 2008 Beijing Games did with Michael Phelps, athletes from the U.S. didn't fail to impress, bringing home the most gold medals as well as the most medals overall. The Olympic games are enough to make the whole world gather around and watch. Therefore, it sits at the top of this list.
The Avengers: Not only was this my personal favorite movie of the year, it was one of the most impressive accomplishments for the film industry. The success of Joss Whedon's "The Avengers" was the culmination of one of the longest and most anticipated projects ever. Not only was it a box office success, it wasn't a busy mess of too many superheroes. No one has ever made a sequel to four movies at once, so when that endeavor not only turned out not to be a complete failure, but was one of the best films of the year, the country was almost unanimously impressed. My jaw dropped and I left it on the floor of the theater out of respect.
Barack Obama is reelected: Elections are a special time in our nation. Everyone likes to complain that they hate sudden influx of people who become political experts for just a brief few months before returning to ignoring all but who will be voted off "The Voice" that week. However, if we want to talk about bringing people together this year, it will be hard to trump the three presidential debates, the one vice presidential debate and the counting of the votes on election night. Not only did this bring us together as a country, it brought several important issues to the forefront of our national consciousness. Some examples of this include, the death of a U.S. Ambassador in Libya, the downfall of the New England republican and the three states; Maine, Maryland and Washington, voting in favor of same-sex marriage. So while the general public might go back to neglecting politics by 2013, at the very least we all were somewhat educated for a little bit there.
The Aurora Theater Shooting: Unfortunately, not all of the things that brought us together this year were all smiles. During a midnight screening of Christopher Nolan's third and final Batman installment, "The Dark Knight Rises," James Eagan Holmes stood up and opened fire on a crowd of innocent moviegoers. The tragedy brought the community of Aurora together and gave the country a glimpse into the horrors of gun violence and the impact that it can have. This wasn't a local story, but a national one that made the entire country think about the impact of mass shootings and gun violence. While it isn't the most pleasant addition to this list, it is nonetheless an important one, because if we don't keep these kinds of things on our minds, then the senseless crime will be even more senseless.
NASA's Curiosity rover lands on Mars: The car-sized robotic rover landed on Mars' Gale Crater on August 6, 2012. The aptly named rover set out to discover the Martian climate and explore whether the crater was ever capable of sustaining microbiotic life. It found evidence of a stream that used to exist, proving to all of us back on Earth that, despite every lesson that we think we've learned, there's much more out there to be discovered and we'll be there soon. Space enthusiasts can look forward to the year 2020 when Curiosity will be the basis for another unnamed rover. Soon we'll have a better understanding of our neighboring planet and when humanity looks back on all that Mars has given us, they'll say that it started this year, with a little Curiosity.  

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