Patty Craig: A Slice of Time
During the year of 2011, we’ve witnessed many changes worldwide. The events mentioned below are significant 2011 events arbitrarily ordered and of course, are only ‘the tip of the iceberg.’
World events that I believe are important included the following:
• The unrest in the Middle East, including the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Muammar Gaddafi.
• The earthquake and tsunami in Tokyo, as well as the nuclear reactor accidents.
• The financial woes of European nations.
• The famine in southern Somalia (reportedly the worst in 60 years).
• The terrorist attack in Norway (the deadliest attack in Norway since WWII).
• The formal declaration of the end to the Iraq War (leaving 4,500 Americans and 110,000 Iraqis dead).
• King Abdullah’s (Saudi Arabia) decree that women will for the first time have the right to vote and run in local elections in 2015.
• The Mexican Drug War, an armed conflict among rival drug cartels fighting one another for regional control.
• The United Nations reported that the world’s population has surpassed 7 billion.
• The wedding of Britain’s Prince William to Catherine Middleton in London.
Important national events occurring in 2011 were:
• Natural disasters hit our nation hard: The largest tornado outbreak ever recorded swept across the South, Midwest and Northeast -- with a record 207 touching down on April 27, killing 346 people. Then, a mile-wide tornado moved through Joplin, Missouri, killing more than 150 people, the deadliest single tornado in 60 years. Later, Hurricane Irene was blamed for at least 20 deaths in eight states. And, we’ve seen drought and flooding.
• The 30-year-old space shuttle program ended.
• The U.S. Labor Department announced that the unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent in November, the lowest since March 2009.
• Occupy Wall Street, a demonstration, began in New York followed by similar protests around the U.S. and the world (The chant, "We are the 99 percent," references a perceived economic unfairness.).
• Standard & Poor downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time after it said Congress failed to do enough to stabilize the country's debt situation.
• Efforts to improve our nation’s federal spending, budget deficits and national debt were not very successful.
• Record low mortgage rates – for the fifth year – were common.
• Sept 11 was the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and a memorial plaza at ground zero opened.
• The loss of people who have made a difference in our country, including former first lady Betty Ford, Apple Inc. cofounder Steve Jobs, and "60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney.
During 2011, Kentucky also had its share of weather damage. In November, the governor was re-elected, giving him more time to tackle the state’s budget woes, the high unemployment rate, and our infrastructure problems. Yes, 2011 brought changes; but, as Irene Peter said. “Just because everything is different doesn't mean anything has changed.”