Editorial: Looking back at 2021, let’s just say Happy New Year

    Republic readers, it has been some kind of year. Not the kind most of us would care to relive, but one we aren’t likely to soon forget.

    Thursday’s paper looked back at the year that was 2021 in Columbus and Bartholomew County, and today we feature the year’s top stories, which to no one’s surprise was again topped by COVID. Can you remember back before COVID was part of our daily existence? How long ago does that feel?

    New Year’s Eve today gives us an opportunity to reflect and remember. This is an appropriate time to remember the more than 200 people who called this county home and who have died from COVID since the beginning of the pandemic. That’s a staggering toll in a county of just under 84,000 souls. We honor their memory, and we recognize that each of those people touched countless lives in this community and beyond.

    It may not always feel like it, but we humans have navigated far worse times than these. Plucky beings that we are, we somehow manage to stumble our way through tragedies and occasionally overcome this world’s many hardships to celebrate great triumphs. And small triumphs, too.

    As your community newspaper, we are humbled to have the privilege to share such stories through tough times and good times in these pages and on the pages of therepublic.com. Year in, year out, we work hard to earn and keep your trust. We strive to be honest, earnest, fair and reliable, as well as a tireless advocate for our region. A great community should demand no less of its local newspaper.

    Of course, in 2021, the world outside our community also knocked on our doors, often loudly. We witnessed that as the prices of everything from used cars and gas to groceries and utilities partied like it was 1979. Inflation soared at rates unseen since the disco era — a time generally best left unexplained for those too young to remember it.

    There also were shades of the early 1970s in 2021 — as then, an ornery Russia was threatening to destabilize the world and a disgraced president was in deep trouble for attempting to undermine American democracy.

    We’ll be hearing more about those things in 2022, of course, whether we want to or not, and those events on the national and global stages will play out as they will, just as they always have, and life for the rest of us will go on.

    Looking back, the year 2021 certainly was longer on tragedies than triumphs. But looking ahead, there is cause for optimism. And the reasons for optimism begin with the dates on the calendar today and tomorrow.

    These are days for calm reflection of the year past and contemplation of the year ahead. These are days to put things behind us and to put things before us, to turn the page and start anew. These are days to resolve to change our lives for the better, to seize a new outlook, to gain a fresh perspective.

    And of course, today and tonight is a time to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. For those who will celebrate, may your festivities be happy, fun, spirited and safe.

    And for all of us, may 2022 be the better, happier, healthier more harmonious and fulfilling year that we all deserve.

    And 2021, no offense, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

    Happy New Year!