Mercifully, 2020 has ended.

Good Lord, where to begin?

How can we possibly convey to future generations what this year has been like?

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The year we looked forward to, mostly just because it was “2020,” turned out to be one of the toughest, craziest and unpredictable in modern history.

How crazy? So crazy, we didn’t have time to be duly terrified of the murder hornets.

There isn’t enough space or daylight to detail all we’ve been through. If there is a single phrase that sums up 2020, it’s probably this one:

“Wash your hands.”

Followed by a close second: “You’re on mute.”

The centerpiece of 2020 of course, was a worldwide pandemic that felt like it possessed nine lives, even as it caused terror and death on a biblical scale.

Insidious and relentless, the disease took us all hostage, upending our traditions, habits and social norms.

The depth and breadth of the love, talent and wisdom lost will not be replaced in a generation.

The year also saw massive protests across the spectrum, and a presidential impeachment, followed by a history-making election that exposed deep political, religious, economic and cultural divides.

The upending of a one-term president sparked some vocal rejection of the result, which gave birth to a bumper-crop of extremists, conspiracy theorists and armchair attorneys.

Though it’s common knowledge that Democrats infight too much to be able to pull off a decent coup, apparently everyone else — from the Supreme Court to Trump-appointed federal judges, to the Department of Homeland Security and Republican state attorney generals — was in cahoots.

In the ages to come, some historians will blame President Donald Trump’s failed bid for re-election on his leadership during the pandemic.

Nope. It was the Teenage TikTok Caper of 2020, when thousands of adolescents placed 1 million phony requests for tickets to a Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, prompting the president’s election team to brag about the mirage of support.

When the prank became known, a campaign that seemed almost invincible, suddenly looked creaky and out of it.

Perhaps it’s best to focus on the good that did emerge from 2020.

Yes, Virginia, there was some good.

As a result of our being quarantined and unable to stomp around and pollute, the Earth and skies became measurably cleaner.

This year also became a marker of resilience, courage and determination. We discovered just how creative and flexible humans can be. We found out just what we’re made of.

We learned that heroism is not limited to sports and the military. There was a rise of capeless crusaders, people whose labor and dedication we’ve taken for granted; people who stared down death, even as they carried the rest of us on their backs.

Food workers, first responders, immunologists, researchers, teachers, nurses, doctors, home-health aides, nursing-home workers, journalists, software engineers, musicians, artists and even children.

In the decades to come, 2020 will be the year that will be the most talked about, studied, examined, debated and dissected.

It will be the one year that millions of future grandchildren will be forced to hear about — over and over — at every family gathering. They’ll learn about how scientists gave humanity an escape hatch by developing a vaccine in record time and they’ll shrug because, by then, amazing scientific developments will be the norm.

They’ll never understand what it was like to live in a year like 2020, a nonstop ride of chills, thrills and, well, spills.

We’re leaning with desperate anticipation toward normalcy, but who can say what that now looks like and if we’ll know when we see it?

In ways that have yet to manifest, 2020 will be the year that makes or breaks us.

The very best thing about 2020?

It’ll never come again.

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Charita M. Goshay is a nationally syndicated columnist for Gatehouse News Service. She is a native of Canton, Ohio, and a graduate of Kent State University where she majored in communications. Goshay has been employed at the Canton Repository since 1990. She can be reached at


I have been editor of the Rockdale Citizen since 1996 and editor of the Newton Citizen since it began publication in 2004. I am also currently executive editor of the Clayton News Daily, Henry Daily Herald and Jackson Progress-Argus.

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