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6 big 2017 stories we can never forget

Good or bad, no one can deny it's been a hell of a year.
trump 2017
Spectators watch the inauguration proceedings on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In the inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump became the 45th president of the United States. Photo: Getty Images

We will soon say goodbye to this year, 2017, which has seen ups and downs that have undoubtedly left the nation exhausted and ready for a new beginning. Before we embark on a new year next week, let's take a moment to reflect on some of the biggest national events of 2017. 

1. Trump's reign begins

President Donald Trump made shockwaves when he won the 2016 presidential election, and since then, the ride hasn’t gotten any less intense. President Trump was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017 in Washington D.C. Later, then-Press Secretary Sean Spicer made headlines when he declared the inauguration crowd the biggest in the history of presidential inaugurations, despite photographic evidence to the contrary. The announcement set the tone for what would end up being a riveting year in the White House.

2. The Charlottesville protests

A gathering of hundreds of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia took a deadly turn on Aug. 12 when a car plowed into a group of counter-protesters and killed Heather Heyer in a flare up of violence by neo-Nazis. The attack occurred after rival groups fought pitched battles using rocks and pepper spray after far-right protesters converged to demonstrate against a plan to remove a statue to a Confederate war hero.

3. The Solar eclipse

On August 21, a major astronomical phenomenon happened for the first time in 38 years. The Great American Solar Eclipse, in which the moon passes between the earth and the sun, blacking out the skies, drew crowds of spectators across the nation to witness the rare celestial event. Despite its shadow, the solar eclipse was a brief reprieve from several dark moments in 2017, bringing together masses of captivated skygazers.

4. September: Hurricane Maria

The largest hurricane to cross Puerto Rico in nearly a century made landfall on September 20, killing 64 people, devastating the island’s infrastructure and leaving residents without clean water or power for several weeks, in some cases months. Cases of leptospirosis, a potentially deadly bacteria, were reported in the weeks following the storm. The U.S. government received backlash for its slow response to the crisis.

5. October: Las Vegas Shooting

Gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, opened fire at a country music concert in Las Vegas on the night of Oct. 1 in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Nearly 60 people were shot dead and 546 others injured in the domestic terror attack. Paddock, 64, shot and killed himself as police closed in. The shooting reignited the debate about gun laws in the U.S., with attention focused on bump fire stocks, which Paddock used in the massacre.

6. October: Harvey Weinstein scandal broke, prompting #MeToo

News broke of Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assault on dozens of women on October 5, when the New York Times published an exposé. The New Yorker followed suit, on Oct. 23. Both stories accused Weinstein of not only raping, but sexually harassing and intimidating high-profile actresses. Since then, more celebrities have come forward — most recently actress Salma Hayek. Weinstein’s downfall inspired the #MeToo movement to take on a powerful new energy, with countless women, and men, outing their sexual assaulters in published essays and on social media.

2017’s high-profile passings

As with any year, 2017 saw the deaths of notable celebrities, including: Hugh Hefner, Roger Ailes, Jerry Lewis, Mary Tyler Moore, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Tom Petty, Bill Paxton, Sam Shepard, Jim Nabors, David Cassidy, Harry Dean Stanton, Frank Vincent, Edith Windsor, John Heard, Adam West, Gregg Allman, Roger Moore, Erin Moran, Chuck Berry

Reuters contributed to this report.