Year in Review: National News

Posted by on Dec 28, 2015 in Year in Review

As we close the page on another year, btw brings you its traditional year-end look at what events that took place in 2015 that most captured our attention. This week we focus on those things that took place close to home.

American flag collage

American flag collage

Anniversaries/Commemorations

2015 marked the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the charter that brought to an end of sovereign rule in England and that many believe to be the most influential document in history. The year was also the last of the five-year-long commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial (that’s 150 years), which also included the post-war assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on April 11, 1865. Seventy years ago, German forces surrendered to the Allied Forces, ending World War II, culminating in an annual celebration across Europe called VE Day  . The Fall of Saigon in 1975 marked forty years since the end of the Vietnam conflict .The Americans with Disabilities Act turned 25, and the nation remembered the victims of the act of domestic terrorism that happened 20 years ago in Oklahoma City.

Mass Shootings

According to some statistics, there were 353 mass shootings in the United States in 2015. The ones that made the most attention included two Muslim students in North Carolina in February; a church shooting in Charleston, Tennessee; and one at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon. A Planned Parenthood in Colorado came under attack, as did the holiday party in San Bernardino.

2016 Election Campaigning

The first election-related story btw reported this year was New Hampshire’s decision to ban selfies from inside of a voting booth. A lot has happened since then. We’ve given you the official announcements of many of the candidates, the debates, the suspension of candidacies, and the inevitable controversies. Expect to find lots more information on the progress of the election over on btw’s companion site Election Central.

Government

While the hopefuls battled it out for attention, Washington took care of a lot of business this year. The American Embassy in Cuba reopened in response to President Obama announced last year that the U.S. would shift its foreign policy. The big issues facing Congress were the Iran Nuclear Deal, immigration reform, gun control, the Keystone pipeline and education reform. The Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling on marriage equality. Speaker of the House, John Boehner surprised many with his resignation in the fall, shortly after Pope Francis made a visit to the Americas. President Obama logged some “firsts” as an American president by visiting a federal prison (to address the need for prison reform) and spending three days in Africa (to increase security partnerships in a region plagued by terrorism).

What Do You Think? What do you think the biggest national story of the year was? Why? Choose a topic from the story above that you are less familiar with and dig a little deeper, writing at least one paragraph on what you learned and why it might not have captured your attention before.