Photos can help us tell our stories – and it’s been a long year. The world is still reeling from decisions that were made in 2016 – showing a fundamental difference in how the world is run today. These differences are social, cultural, and political – and show signs of a constantly evolving nation.
From court hearings, migrant crises, Supreme Court hearings, and wildfires – we haven’t had a shortage of iconic moments. And our world is getting better at recording our actions, leading to millions of photos a day.
We’ve highlighted some of the most striking images from 2018. Enjoy a look back on some of this year’s most significant moments.
The Migrant Crisis
In October, thousands of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador started a 2000-mile walk to the United States to seek refuge from their home countries. The caravan was mostly men and included women and young children, too.
The United States was adamant that no one would cross the border illegally, making this a political issue just two weeks before the midterms. While the press was a large advocate for the immigrants and their right to enter the country, support for the caravan has quietened since the election.
Perhaps the most prominent school shooting this year occurred in Parkland, Florida. On February 14, Valentine’s Day, Nickolas Cruz entered Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and killed 14 students and three teachers.
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March for Our Lives
Following the Parkland shooting, a rally was held demanding stricter gun control laws across the United States. Survivors of the February 14 shooting organized the rally, including Alfonso Caldron, Sarah Chadwick, Emma Gonzalez, and Cameron Kasky.
Washington, DC, hosted more than 500,000 people who had met from all over the country to protest against gun crime and school shootings. This photo was taken on March 24, 2018, and shows the crowds on Pennsylvania Avenue looking west toward the White House.
A Dialogue Begins
The Parkland shooting caused such a strong response that a national dialogue was started among adults and students pertaining to safety in schools. President Donald Trump held a listening session in the White House with students, teachers, and parents from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.
Here, the President is sharing a prayer with students Carson Abt, right, and Julia Cordover, the school’s student body president. Trump asked questions such as ‘what can we do to help you feel safe?’ and ‘what do you want me to know most about your experience?’
A Testimony For The Ages
After President Trump nominated Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, he was hit with a series of sexual assault allegations from various women. Here is Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testifying in front of Congress about what she believed to be her experience with Kavanaugh from high school in the 1970s.
There were no details in the testimony and no corroborating evidence. Three of his accusers later admitted to lying to try to derail his nomination. The Senate approved his nomination with a vote of 51-49 – the smallest majority in US history.
A Meeting Of Two Moments
During the contentious Brett Kavanaugh hearings, characters from the Parkland incident turned up at the Capitol to confront gun rights activists. A hearing on September 4, 2018, led to this serendipitous meeting between Kavanaugh and Fred Guttenberg, the father of Jamie Guttenberg, who was killed in the shooting.
Kavanaugh did not shake his hand, claiming to not know who he was. The moment is a powerful reminder of the difference between state and civilian in a divided country.
A Shining Sky
The United States launched an attack on Syria in April, 2018, causing the sky to light up in the middle of the night. President Trump’s retaliation was due to the discovery of Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons on its people.
As 2018 comes to a close, Trump has declared Syria a victory and ordered the withdrawal of troops in the region. The move was met with celebration and criticism on both sides of the political spectrum.
A New Royal Baby
The British Royal Family had a busy 2018, with multiple weddings and births to keep the public entertained. On April 23, the world met Prince Louis Arthur Charles – the thirdborn child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
The young prince is fifth in line to the throne, usurping his uncle, Prince Harry. Due to a change in the laws, Prince Louis did not usurp his older sister, Princess Charlotte, in the rankings. Here, the happy couple wave to cameras overhead.
A Merging of the Unions
May 19 saw the wedding of Prince Harry and American actress, Meghan Markle. The marriage is iconic in its own right: Markle is a foreign divorcee. The ceremony was an inclusive, multi-cultural affair including pastors and choirs.
Famous guests included David and Victoria Beckham, George and Amal Clooney, and Serena Williams. Later that year, the couple would announce their first pregnancy. The next Royal Baby is due sometime in early 2019, marking the first for the couple.
The #MeToo Movement
In the first major takedown from the #MeToo movement, disgraced actor Bill Cosby is seen here escorted out of the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania.
It had long been rumored that the actor had sexually assaulted dozens of women across 30 years. In September 2018, the 81-year-old was sentenced to 3-10 years in prison for his actions, finally bringing justice to the women he hurt. It is likely he will end his life behind bars.
The Fall Of A Tyrant
The #MeToo movement was kicked off in October 2017 when dozens of women accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual misconduct. Here he is entering the State Supreme Court in New York on October 11, 2018.
Due to his power and influence, he was deemed almost untouchable until a band of victims united and took down one of the industry’s biggest predators. To date, 87 people have accused Weinstein of sexual assault and rape. He faces years in prison.
Fires Burning Bright
California was hit with its most devastating wildfires in history this year with 153,333 acres burning for weeks. In November 2018, 18,000 buildings were destroyed and 85 people were killed. The state of California has been criticized for not conducting controlled forest fires to help curb the number of uncontrollable fires that break out each year.
In total, the fire burned from September 5 until October 7. The fire was eventually stopped and people are rebuilding their lives from nothing.
Respecting an Icon
The world said goodbye to Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, on August 16. She died at the age of 76 following a battle with pancreatic cancer and is widely considered one of the greatest performers in the world.
This photo was taken as she lay in her casket at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. Her most famous songs include Respect and Natural Woman. In January 2009, she sang at the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
Death of a War Hero
2018 said goodbye to Arizona Senator John McCain. McCain famously ran for president in 2008 alongside Sarah Palin and lost out to Barack Obama and Joe Biden.
Here is his wife, Cindy McCain, resting her head on his casket during a memorial service at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on August. 29. John McCain was a Navy pilot, former POW, and longtime public servant who was seen as a maverick among conservatives in the Republican party.
Father and Son Presidents
2018 would say goodbye to the matriarch and patriarch of the Bush dynasty. In April, America said goodbye to former first lady Barbara Bush. She was married to President George Bush, the country’s 41st president.
She was the only person in history to watch her husband and son both be inaugurated as President of the United States. This photo sees four presidents and two first ladies who would reunite a few months later for the funeral of George Bush Sr. in November.
A Special Relationship?
In July 2018, Britain greeted President Donald Trump during his first visit as President. He sat with Prime Minister Theresa May during a meeting at Chequers in Buckinghamshire, England. The two leaders have failed to build a relationship similar to their predecessors, Ronald Regan
Trump and May both lead countries fraught with cultural divisions. It is expected that the two countries will form a new trade alliance following the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.
A United Koreas
For the first time, the two leaders of North Korea and South Korea cross the military demarcation line at the border village of Panmunjom in Demilitarized Zone. The iconic walk had followed months of negotiations between Kim Jong Un, Moon Jae-in, Donald Trump, and China’s President Xi Jinping.
However, it is unsure if the photo opportunity will lead to much more than peace of mind for the citizens of each nation. Next year will welcome the continued negotiations for North Korea to become a denuclearized state.
A Shredded Masterpiece
Acclaimed artist Banksy sent the art world into shock after destroying his own piece of work. The masterpiece sold for 1.2 million Euros before suddenly self-destructing after purchase. The practical joke occurred during a Sotheby’s auction of the famous Girl with a Balloon in Britain.
Banksy later revealed on his Facebook page that the stunt had actually malfunctioned and that it was supposed to shred the work in its entirety. The newly-formed work of art was renamed Love is in the bin and went up in value instantly. If that’s not a reflection on the art industry, I don’t know what it.
Establishment vs. Nationalist
The self-declared populist and nationalist President met his match at the G7 summit in
In a twist of fate, Merkel announced her resignation, Thersa May declared herself out of the next election, and France’s Macron sits at an 18% approval rating. The photo was widely shared on social media as a representation of America’s relationship with the rest of the world.