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2018 In Review Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here is a look back at the events of 2018.

Notable US Events:
January 4 – The Dow closes at 25075.13 the first ever close above 25000.

January 11 – During a White House meeting on immigration reform President Donald Trump reportedly refers to Haiti and African nations as “shithole countries.” He reportedly says that the United States should get more people from countries like Norway.

January 12 – The Wall Street Journal reports that President Donald Trump had an alleged affair with a porn star named Stephanie Clifford aka Stormy Daniels. The newspaper states that Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen arranged a $130000 payment for a nondisclosure agreement weeks before Election Day in 2016. Cohen denies that Trump had a relationship with Clifford.

January 13 – In Hawaii a state emergency management worker pushes the wrong button in the emergency operation center sending out a false warning during a ballistic missile alert drill. The employee thought the attack was real when he sent out the warning according to a Federal Communications Commission report.

January 17 – The Dow closes at 26115.65 the first time it has closed above 26000.

January 23 – A 15-year-old male student opens fire at Marshall County High School in Benton Kentucky killing two and injuring at least 14 others. The suspect is arrested at the scene and later charged with two counts of murder and 14 counts of first-degree assault.

January 24 – Larry Nassar a former USA Gymnastics and Michigan State University doctor is sentenced to up to 175 years in prison after more than 150 women and girls said in court that he sexually abused them over the past two decades.

February 5 – The Dow suffers its worst intra-day trading loss plummeting 1597 points.

February 12 – The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery unveils the official portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama. The portraits were painted by African-American artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald a first in the history of presidential portraits.

February 14 – A former student opens fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida killing 17 people. Nikolas Cruz 19 is later charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder.

March 2-20 – Five package bombs explode killing two people and wounding five in Austin Texas. The suspect Mark Anthony Conditt kills himself with his last explosive device after he is stopped by the police on March 21.

March 13 – President Donald Trump announces in a tweet that he has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and will nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo as Tillerson’s replacement.

April 26 – Comedian Bill Cosby is convicted on all three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand in a Philadelphia suburb in 2004. Later he is sentenced to 3-10 years in state prison.

May 3 – Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano begins erupting sending a smoldering flow of lava into residential areas on the Big Island.

May 7 – US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announces a “zero tolerance” policy for illegal border crossings. Sessions says that individuals who violate immigration law will be criminally prosecuted and warns that parents could be separated from children.

May 9 – Three American detainees are released from North Korea. The Americans — Kim Dong Chul Kim Hak-song and Kim Sang Duk also known as Tony Kim — were freed while US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on a visit to the North Korean capital of Pyongyang to discuss President Donald Trump’s upcoming summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

May 17 – Gina Haspel is confirmed as the first female director of the CIA.

May 18 – Dimitrios Pagourtzis 17 allegedly opens fire killing 10 and injuring 13 at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe Texas. Pagourtzis is arrested and charged with capital murder and aggravated assault of a public servant.

May 22 – Stacey Abrams wins the Georgia Democratic primary election for governor. She is the first black woman in the US to win a major party’s nomination for the office.

May 25 – Film producer Harvey Weinstein is arraigned on charges of first- and third-degree rape and committing a criminal sexual act in the first degree seven months after women began to come forward with stories alleging sexual misconduct by the famed Hollywood producer. The charges filed stem from incidents with two separate women in 2004 and 2013.

June 15 – The US Department of Homeland Security confirms that the US government has separated almost 2000 children from parents at the border since implementing a policy that results in such family separations.

June 19 – Antwon Rose II an unarmed 17-year-old is shot and killed by police officer Michael Rosfeld in East Pittsburgh. Rose had been a passenger in a car that was stopped by police because it matched the description of a car that was involved in an earlier shooting. Rose and another passenger “bolted” from the vehicle and Rosfeld opened fire striking Rose three times Allegheny County police says. On June 27 the Allegheny County Pennsylvania district attorney charges Rosfeld with criminal homicide in the shooting death of Rose.

June 27 – Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy sends a letter to President Donald Trump announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court effective July 31 2018.

June 28 – Five people are killed and two are injured when a gunman opens fire on the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis Maryland.

July 5 – Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt resigns after months of ethics controversies.

July 9 – President Donald Trump announces Brett Kavanaugh as his nominee to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Kennedy’s decision to retire.

July 13 – The Justice Department announces indictments against 12 Russian nationals as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election accusing them of engaging in a “sustained effort” to hack Democrats’ emails and computer networks.

July 16 – During a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki President Donald Trump declines to endorse the US government’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election saying he doesn’t “see any reason why” Russia would be responsible. The next day Trump clarifies his remark “The sentence should have been ‘I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be Russia.” He says he accepts the intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia meddled in the election but adds “It could be other people also.”

August 14 – Christine Hallquist wins the Democratic primary in the Vermont governor’s race becoming the first openly transgender gubernatorial candidate for a major party.

August 14 – A grand jury report is published documenting credible allegations of abuse by more than 300 “predator priests” in six Pennsylvania dioceses. According to the report more than 1000 children were victims of clergy sexual abuse dating back to 1947.

August 21 – President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleads guilty to eight federal charges including two campaign finance violations. In court he says that he orchestrated payments to silence women “in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office.” On the same day Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort is convicted on eight counts of federal financial crimes.

August 28 – The Puerto Rican government raises its official death toll from Hurricane Maria to 2975 after a report on storm fatalities is published by researchers at George Washington University.

September 14 – Hurricane Florence makes landfall near Wrightsville Beach North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph. The death toll from the storm is at least 51 including 39 fatalities in North Carolina nine deaths in South Carolina and three fatalities in Virginia.

September 16 – The Washington Post publishes an article about a California professor accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her when they were both teenagers in the early 1980s. Christine Blasey Ford says she initially sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein about the incident when Kavanaugh’s name was included on a shortlist for the Supreme Court. Ford tells the newspaper she initially did not want to go public but she decided to talk on the record because her letter to Feinstein had been leaked to the media. Kavanaugh denies that such an incident ever took place.

September 27 – Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford testify during an all-day hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

October 5 – Officer Jason Van Dyke is found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

October 6 – The Senate confirms Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with a 50-48 vote. He is sworn in by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts during a private ceremony at the Supreme Court. The vote takes place amid public protests for and against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

October 10 – Hurricane Michael makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in the Florida panhandle. With winds of approximately 155 mph Michael becomes the strongest storm to hit the continental US since Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The death toll from Michael is 46 people across Florida Georgia North Carolina and Virginia.

October 26 – Cesar Sayoc the man suspected of sending 14 pipe bombs to prominent Democrats around the country is arrested.

October 27 – Eleven people are killed at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh when a gunman opens fire.

November 6 – A record 102 women win seats in the House of Representatives.

November 7 – Twelve people are killed in a shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks California. Officials say the gunman Ian David Long shot an unarmed security guard outside the bar then went in and continued shooting injuring other security workers employees and patrons.

November 8 – A fire breaks out burning through the town of Paradise California. It’s the most destructive wildfire in California history and the deadliest.

December 7 – Beth Kimber becomes the first woman to lead the CIA’s Directorate of Operations.

December 12 – President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen is sentenced to three years in prison for crimes that included arranging payments during the 2016 election to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump.

December 19 – President Donald Trump declares that the US has defeated ISIS and orders a “full” and “rapid” withdrawal of US military from Syria.

Notable International Events:
January 27 – An attacker driving an ambulance packed with explosives detonates them in Kabul Afghanistan leaving at least 103 people dead and more than 150 others injured Afghan officials say. The Taliban claims responsibility for the attack.

February 6 – At least nine people are killed and more than 225 are injured including tourists when a 6.4-magnitude earthquake strikes just off the east coast of Taiwan.

February 19-25 – At least 520 people are killed during airstrikes in Eastern Ghouta an area outside Damascus Syria according to Doctors Without Borders.

March 2 – At least eight people are killed and more than 80 are injured in two attacks in Burkina Faso’s capital one of them targeting the French embassy security officials said.

March 4 – Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia are poisoned with a nerve agent in the English city of Salisbury. The poisoning of the Skripals sparks a diplomatic row between the UK government and Russia which has consistently denied allegations that it was behind the attack. British prosecutors eventually charge two Russian nationals in connection with the nerve agent attack.

March 6 – South Korea’s national security chief Chung Eui-yong says that North Korea has agreed to refrain from nuclear and missile testing while engaging in peace talks. North Korea has also expressed an openness to talk to the United States about abandoning its nuclear program according to Chung.

March 7 – Indian architect Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi is named the 2018 laureate of the Pritzker Prize the first Indian to win the accolade in its four-decade history.

March 12 – At least 49 people are killed when a plane approaches the runway from the wrong direction crashes and bursts into flames while landing at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan Airport in Nepal.

March 18 – Vladimir Putin is re-elected as president of Russia with 76.7% of the vote according to Central Election Commission data. International election monitors say the election was “overly controlled” and “lacked genuine competition.”

March 23 – ISIS supporter Radouane Lakdim 26 opens fire in a supermarket in Trèbes France killing a worker and a customer. Lt. Col. Arnaud Beltrame a police officer who swapped places with a female hostage during the attack later dies of gunshot wounds French authorities say. Lakdim is shot dead by police on the scene.

March 25 – At least 64 people are killed and dozens injured when a fire breaks out at a shopping center in the Siberian city of Kemerovo.

March 25-28 – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un makes a surprise trip to Beijing and meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping Chinese state media confirms. The trip is Kim’s first abroad since he took the reins after his father Kim Jong Il died in late 2011.

March 28 – At least 68 people die in a fire at a police command and detention center in the Venezuelan city of Valencia.

March 30 – The UN Peacekeeping mission in Liberia ends.

April 11 – At least 257 people are killed when a military plane crashes near the Algerian capital Algiers state media reports.

April 13 – US President Donald Trump authorizes joint military strikes in Syria with the UK and France after reports the government used chemical weapons on civilians in Douma.

April 27 – During a day-long summit North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pledge to formally end the Korean War 65 years after hostilities ceased. The Panmunjom Declaration also calls for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

April 30 – Ten journalists are among dozens killed in a series of attacks in Afghanistan.

April-August – At least 317 people are killed in Nicaragua during anti-government protests.

May – Fierce winds and lightning strikes created by powerful rain and dust storms kill at least 100 people and injure hundreds more in northwestern India.

May 8 – US President Donald Trump announces that the United States is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. “This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never ever been made” he says in remarks that at times misrepresent the international agreement’s provisions.

May 9 – At least 45 people are killed when a dam bursts in Kenya after weeks of torrential rain. Later criminal charges are filed against individuals involved in the construction of the dam.

May 14 – The United States relocates its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in a move that is met with clashes and protests along the Gaza border. At least 58 Palestinians are killed and more than 2700 injured as protests take place ahead of during and after the ceremony in Jerusalem making it the deadliest day there since the 2014 Gaza war.

May 19 – Britain’s Prince Harry marries American actress Meghan Markle.

May 20 – During an election denounced by opposition leaders and the international community Nicolás Maduro is re-elected president of Venezuela. Voter turnout falls to 46% down from an 80% participation rate in 2013.

June 1 – Giuseppe Conte a law professor who has never held political office is sworn in as Italy’s new Prime Minister bringing to power a populist new government whose senior figures whipped up anti-immigrant and euroskeptic sentiments in their path to office.

June 3 – Guatemala’s Fuego volcano erupts killing at least 135 people according to the government of Guatemala.

June 12 – US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet in person for the first time during a summit in Singapore. They sign a four-point statement that broadly outlines the countries’ commitment to a peace process. The statement contains a pledge by North Korea to “work towards” complete denuclearization but the agreement does not detail how the international community will verify that Kim is ending his nuclear program.

June 16 – At least 17 people including eight minors are killed after a partygoer detonates a tear-gas canister inside a nightclub in Caracas Venezuela setting off a stampede authorities say.

June 18 – An earthquake hits the Japanese city of Osaka killing at least five people and injuring 214 Japan’s government says.

June 23 – Twelve members of Thailand’s Wild Boars youth soccer team and their coach enter the Tham Luang cave network only to be trapped by rising flood waters. A team of international cave diving experts work to retrieve them evacuating the boys one-by-one. The last of the group the coach successfully exits the cave on July 10.

July – Landslides and flooding caused by torrential rain in Japan kill at least 200 people.

July 14 – Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigns amid violent and deadly protests sparked by a proposed plan to raise fuel prices.

July 16 – At least 149 people are killed and 186 are injured in a suicide attack in Pakistan that targeted the convoy of a political candidate in the general election according to Qaim Lashari the Deputy Commissioner of Balochistan’s Mastung region.

July 29 – Four cyclists – two Americans a Swiss man and a man from the Netherlands – are killed and three others are injured when they are run down by a car in southern Tajikistan. The car’s occupants leave the vehicle and begin attacking the cyclists with knives. A day later ISIS claims responsibility for the attack.

August 1 – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ministry of Health declares an Ebola virus outbreak in five health zones in North Kivu province and one health zone in Ituri province. As of December 15 a total of 483 people have been infected including 265 deaths. The outbreak is the second largest and second deadliest in history according to a report from the nation’s Ministry of Health.

August 14 – A car crashes into security barriers outside the UK’s Houses of Parliament during the morning rush hour injuring several people. The driver is arrested on suspicion of terrorist offenses. He is later identified as Salih Khater a 29-year-old British citizen who emigrated from Sudan.

August 14 – At least 39 people die in Genoa Italy after a highway bridge partially collapses during a violent storm.

September 2 – A massive fire engulfs Brazil’s National Museum destroying priceless artifacts dating back centuries.

September 20 – A ferry capsizes in Tanzania killing at least 224 people. The captain of the overloaded ferry is later arrested.

September 28 – A 7.5-magnitude earthquake strikes the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. More than 2010 people are killed and about 10700 seriously injured from the earthquake and resulting tsunami.

October 2 – Barham Salih is elected president of Iraq and appoints Adel Abdul Mahdi as prime minister-designate.

October 2 – Prominent Saudi journalist and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi disappears. He is last seen walking into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. In the month following his disappearance Saudi officials release several shifting accounts of the events surrounding Khashoggi’s death. Initially the kingdom says the journalist left the consulate alive shortly after arriving. It later says he had died in a fistfight when a discussion turned violent. Next the country’s attorney general says new information received from Turkish investigators has led them to believe the killing was premeditated.

October 5 – British artist Banksy’s piece “Girl with Balloon (2006)” is sold for $1.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction house in London. Moments after the sale the image begins self-destructing passing through a shredder hidden in its frame.

October 24 – A bridge connecting Hong Kong and Macau to the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai opens to the public marking the completion of the longest sea-crossing bridge ever built nine years after construction began.

October 28 – Jair Bolsonaro is declared the winner of Brazil’s presidential election.

October 29 – Shortly after takeoff Lion Air flight JT 610 crashes into the sea near Jakarta Indonesia killing all 189 people onboard.

October 29 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel announces she will not seek re-election when her term expires in 2021.

December 11 – A gunman opens fire at the Strasbourg France Christmas market killing five people.

December 12 – UK Prime Minister Theresa May survives a vote of no-confidence among Tory members of parliament garnering 200 votes of the 317 total. The vote was called after May postponed a parliamentary decision on a Brexit deal amid signs it would not be approved.

December 16 – An explosion near a pub in the northern Japanese city of Sapporo injures at least 42 people including one critically said Hokkaido Police public relations officer Ryohei Kashihara. The cause of the explosion is unknown and emergency services continue to investigate.

December 22 – At least 426 people are killed when a tsunami hits the Sunda Strait in Indonesia. The tsunami sparked by landslides from an erupting volcano has left about 7000 people injured and 43000 displaced.

Awards and Winners:
January 7 – The Golden Globes are presented. A number of actresses and actors attend the event dressed in black to support the Time’s Up movement. The movement launched at the start of the year by women and men from the entertainment industry aims to combat sexual harassment in Hollywood and beyond.

January 8 – The Alabama Crimson Tide defeats the Georgia Bulldogs 26-23 in overtime to win the College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta. This is Alabama’s fifth national title since the 2009 season.

January 15 – The 49th NAACP Image Awards are announced.

January 15-28 – The Australian Open takes place. Roger Federer defeats Marin Cilic in the men’s final and Caroline Wozniacki defeats Simona Halep in the women’s final.

January 21 – The 24th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards are held. For the first time in the award show’s history there is a host Kristen Bell.

January 28 – The 48th Pro Bowl takes place at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. The AFC team defeats the NFC team 24-23.

January 28 – The NHL All-Star Game takes place at Amalie Arena in Tampa Florida. The Pacific Division defeats the Atlantic Division 5-2. Brock Boeser is named MVP.

January 28 – The 60th Annual Grammy Awards take place at Madison Square Garden in New York. This is the first time New York has hosted the Grammy Awards in 15 years.

February 4 – The Philadelphia Eagles defeat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII (52) at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

February 9-25 – The 2018 Winter Olympics are held in Pyeongchang South Korea.

February 12-13 – The 142nd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show takes place. A male bichon frise nicknamed Flynn wins Best in Show.

February 18 – Austin Dillon wins the 60th annual Daytona 500.

March 4 – The 90th Annual Academy Awards are presented. Jimmy Kimmel hosts.

March 14 – Norwegian musher Joar Leifseth Ulsom wins his first Iditarod.

April 2 – In the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament the Villanova Wildcats defeat the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 securing the Men’s Championship to secure the title. The victory gives the Wildcats its third national championship in program history and the second in three years.

April 2-8 – The 82nd Masters tournament takes place. Patrick Reed finishes at 15-under 273 winning by one stroke over Rickie Fowler.

April 16 – The Pulitzer Prizes are announced. Rapper Kendrick Lamar wins the Pulitzer Prize for music. Since it was first established in 1943 the award has historically been granted only to classical and jazz.

April 16 – The 122nd Boston Marathon takes place. The winners are Yuki Kawauchi of Japan in the men’s division and Desiree Linden of the United States in the women’s division.

May 5 – Justify wins the 144th Kentucky Derby.

May 8-19 – The 71st Cannes Film Festival takes place.

May 19 – Justify ridden by Mike Smith wins the 143rd Preakness.

May 27 – Will Power of Australia wins the 102nd running of the Indy 500.

May 27-June 10 – The French Open takes place at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris. Simona Halep defeats Sloan Stephens to win her first Grand Slam title. Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem to earn his 11th French Open title.

June 7 – The Washington Capitals defeat the Vegas Golden Knights to win their first Stanley Cup.

June 8 – Finals – The Golden State Warriors defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers with a series win 4-0 in the NBA Finals.

June 9 – Justify wins the 13th Triple Crown after a victory at the 150th Belmont Stakes.

June 10 – The 72nd Annual Tony Awards take place at Radio City Music Hall in New York.

June 11-17 – Brooks Koepka of the United States wins the 118th US Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club in Southampton New York. Koepka who also took the title in 2017 is the first player to win two consecutive years since 1989.

June 14-July 15 – The World Cup (men’s) takes place in Russia. France wins its second World Cup by defeating Croatia 4-2.

July 2-15 – The Wimbledon tennis championships take place in London. Novak Djokovic wins his fourth Wimbledon title against Kevin Anderson and Angelique Kerber defeats Serena Williams to claim her first Wimbledon title.

July 7-29 – The 105th Tour de France takes place. Geraint Thomas of Great Britain’s Team Sky becomes the first Welshman to win in the race’s history.

July 15-22 – The 147th Open Championship takes place at Carnoustie Golf Links in Carnoustie Scotland. Francesco Molinari becomes the first Italian-born player to win the tournament.

August 12 – Brooks Koepka wins the 100th PGA Championship at the Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

August 27-September 9 – The US Open Tennis Tournament takes place. Naomi Osaka defeats Serena Williams in a controversial women’s singles final 6-2 6-4 to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. Novak Djokovic defeats Juan Martin del Potro 6-3 7-6 6-3 to win the men’s singles title.

September 17 – The 70th annual Primetime Emmy Awards are presented.

October 1-8 – The Nobel Prizes are announced. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict.

October 28 – The Boston Red Sox win the World Series defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 in Game 5 at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

November 4 – The winners of the 48th New York City Marathon are Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia in the men’s division and Mary Keitany of Kenya in the women’s division.

Notable Deaths in 2018:
Ray Thomas – January 4

John Young – January 5

Jerry Van Dyke – January 5

Keith Jackson – January 12

Dolores O’Riordan – January 15

Paul Bocuse – January 20

Ursula K Le Guin – January 22

Hugh Masekela – January 23

Ingvar Kamprad – January 27

Dennis Edwards – February 1

John Mahoney – February 4

Reg E. Cathey – February 9

Vic Damone – February 11

Daryle Singletary – February 12

Morgan Tsvangirai – February 14

Emma Chambers – February 21

Billy Graham – February 21

Nanette Fabray – February 22

Sridevi Kapoor – February 24

Cynthia Heimel – February 25

Sir Roger Bannister – March 3

David Ogden Stiers – March 3

Russ Solomon – March 4

Hubert de Givenchy – March 10

Stephen Hawking – March 14

Tom Benson – March 15

Louise Slaughter – March 16

Zell Miller – March 23

Linda Brown – March 25

Steven Bochco – April 1

Winnie Mandela – April 2

Isao Takahata – April 5

Chuck McCann – April 8

Milos Forman – April 13

R. Lee Ermey – April 15

Harry Anderson – April 16

Barbara Bush – April 17

Carl Kasell – April 17

Reid Collins – April 19

Tim Bergling “Avicii” – April 20

Verne Troyer – April 21

Larry Harvey – April 28

Margot Kidder – May 13

Tom Wolfe – May 14

Philip Roth – May 22

Jerry Maren – May 24

Alan Bean – May 26

Dwight Clark – June 4

Kate Spade – June 5

Anthony Bourdain – June 8

Danny Kirwan – June 8

Matt “Guitar” Murphy – June 15

Koko – June 19

Charles Krauthammer – June 21

Joe Jackson – June 27

Matt Cappotelli – June 29

Tab Hunter – July 8

Adrian Cronauer – July 18

Jonathan Gold – July 21

Sergio Marchionne – July 25

Charlotte Rae – August 5

Joël Robuchon – August 6

Aretha Franklin – August 16

Atal Behari Vajpayee – August 16

Kofi Annan – August 18

Robin Leach – August 24

John McCain – August 25

Neil Simon – August 26 –

Bill Daily – September 4

Burt Reynolds – September 6

Malcolm McCormick “Mac Miller” – September 7

Arthur Mitchell – September 19

Marty Balin – September 27

Charles Aznavour – October 1

Paul Allen – October 15

Whitey Bulger – October 30

Willie McCovey – October 31

Stan Lee – November 12

Roy Clark – November 15

Bob McNair – November 23

George H.W. Bush – November 30

Nancy Wilson – December 13

Penny Marshall – December 17

Categories
CNN-Entertainment-Style

A national museum where veterans, not war, come first

Text by Stacey Lastoe, CNN
Video by Channon Hodge, CNN

Military museums across the United States and around the world often offer visitors glimpses of world wars, commemorating the men and women who sacrificed their lives for their country.

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum has a broader goal: to represent veterans — not just war.

War stories are present, of course, but they aren’t primary. Instead, there’s attention given to the decision to serve, training and boot camp, the sacred oath, deployment and personnel roles, separation from friends and family, survival, sacrifice and homecoming.

Columbus, Ohio’s capital and largest city, is where the National Veterans Memorial and Museum resides. The $82 million project opened in October 2018 after six years of planning and construction.

The museum received a national designation from Congress and President Donald Trump.

Museum participants, veterans whose stories are told through the various installations, and organizers believe that the narratives shared in the museum haven’t yet been told — not in this way, not this thoroughly.

Thank you for your service

The 53,000-square-foot facility sits along the Scioto River in downtown Columbus. The structure — envisioned by the late John Glenn and created by architecture and design firm Allied Works — includes an outdoor ceremonial space and rooftop sanctuary in the center of concentric concrete rings.

The museum’s installations indicate that it is neither a war memorial nor a military museum. It is a space dedicated to the stories and experiences of all veterans. Theodore Roosevelt, a war hero, is in the museum, right next to someone you can’t find in a history book.

African American, Hispanic, Asian, men, women, poor, rich, famous politicians and virtually unknown people from every era — from the Revolutionary War to the war in Afghanistan — are represented and honored here.

Though many civilians might find it challenging to draw similarities across these wide-ranging periods of history, the NVMM stitches these stories together through video interviews, audio recordings, touchscreens, handwritten letters and a time line.

The military may not be a taboo topic, but it also isn’t the most accessible.

The exhibitions throughout the NVMM strive to not only honor veterans but also to educate civilians. Fewer men and women in service than ever before (less than 1% of the population, in fact) means fewer conversations about the military in general.

World War II, for example, saw 16 million people serving. In 2018, there are less than three million members of the Department of Defense, which includes those on active duty, reserves and in personnel roles.

Guy Worley, president of Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, wants the museum to “connect, inspire and educate” young people. Because the majority of the population in the United States hasn’t served in the military, Worley believes it’s important to foster an understanding between the groups.

Glenn was instrumental in bringing the NVMM to fruition and ensuring its place in educating the nonveteran community about how and why we enjoy our freedoms.

Choosing to serve

Because veterans’ stories are complicated and nuanced, the museum takes visitors on a multileg journey. The intention is not to convince people to enlist but to educate them on what it means to serve and maybe even to inspire different acts of service.

Col. Tom Moe, USAF retired, left behind a wife and 3-month-old daughter when he set off for Vietnam. Moe was a prisoner of war for more than five years, but his homecoming is as much a part of his journey as the torturous years he endured as a prisoner.

He’s been involved in the NVMM from the beginning and believes it’s essential for those who have no contact with the military to “really understand the impact that veterans have on society, the positive impact.”

Moe’s decision to enter the Air Force can be traced back to family members who fought in World War II. Moe says he wanted “to try to do for the people in Vietnam what my dad and relatives had done to liberate Germany and Japan and so forth … “

When Moe stands before a replica of his war trunk in the museum, he pauses before acknowledging the role his wife, Chris, a civilian, played in his service. It’s one of many elements in the museum attempting to “show the family side” that he believes can help connect veterans and civilians.

Visitors stopping at the war trunks can open the lid and hear both Col. Moe and Chris, his wife of 53 years, speaking. Photographs of the couple through the years string together a cohesive narrative.

Every role counts

Jaspen Boothe, a disabled Army veteran who served for 17 years, first as an 88 Mike (or truck driver), and then as a human resources officer in the ROTC (a college program that prepares young adults for the military), says she was surprised when asked to be a part of the museum’s creation.

“Why do you want to interview me? Why do you want me to be a part of it?” she wondered.

Not having deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, Boothe says she didn’t hold what many consider a “sexy” military job.

It was a cancer diagnosis, however, that kept Boothe behind a desk and not in the field, but she doesn’t view her role as one of diminished importance and doesn’t think anyone else should either.

After the NVMM made its intentions clear — to be a museum depicting the total military experience for anyone of any role, gender, rank and era — Boothe was on board.

“I think that everyone who’s worn the uniform has a story, and it’s important that all those stories are told,” Boothe says.

For her, the decision to serve her country had a lot to do with honor, a word that deserves to be spoken with care. Boothe believed that if she pursued the “challenging and honorable” profession, proving wrong the single mom stereotype, her son would “know that he could accomplish anything that he wanted to as well as long as he was dedicated and disciplined to the task.”

‘We’re all green here’

Jason Dominguez, who served in the Marines and deployed to Iraq, has also been an active participant in the museum since its inception. Like Moe, Dominguez was inspired by the people who came before him. As far back as he can remember, he wanted to serve his country.

What he found in the Marine Corps was a diverse group of people from various backgrounds and circumstances who shared at least one thing in common: the decision to serve.

“We’re all green here. We’re all green,” Dominguez says, thinking back to his early days in the Marines, where all the “colors of the rainbow” existed together. In spite of these outward differences, Dominguez says the only thing that mattered was that they were in it together, solving problems and overcoming challenges.

Similarly, tangible items such as real war packs, uniforms and personnel trunks, may appear different from the outside, but they’re more alike than different. Museum visitors can try on pieces of the various military uniforms and pick up the heavy military packs carried by soldiers as they take notice of themselves in the full-length mirror that is also a part of this intimate interactive.

When Dominguez and his wife, Raven, walked through the museum for the first time, she expressed surprise upon seeing a Civil War sack. “That’s crazy,” she exclaims wide-eyed.

Dominguez stopped at the footlocker exhibit. “I love seeing footlockers from the different eras,” he said pointing to Iraq’s plastic locker and another sturdier one from the Vietnam War.

“Honey, I miss you. How are the kids? Can’t wait to come home. The food stinks. I’m cold, send me more socks.” Relatable thoughts, needs and wants. Veterans can empathize, and civilians can sympathize.

Taking the Oath

Visitors can linger on the historic time line to the left as they make their way around the circular museum space, or they can take their time with the many interactive components on the right, closer to the periphery of the space.

This is where the Taking the Oath section lives.

Dominguez remembered taking the oath. He likened it to getting married.

“You’re making a commitment to something that’s bigger than yourself,” he said, adding that “there are many who are born under our flag, but there are a few who actually choose to become a part of it.”

Coming home

Instead of displaying stories of war and commemorating the men and women who fought and stopping there, the NVMM continues the narrative. What was it like for soldiers to return home after the fight? What do those reunions look like?

Moe’s homecoming, for example, meant, in part, reintroducing himself to his daughter. It meant returning to Chris, who’d been responsible for raising their daughter for years by herself.

About that return: Moe never faltered in his belief that it would happen.

“I never had any doubts that I would come home,” Moe says, growing emotional when he talks about friends who weren’t as fortunate. To him, the museum memorializes the fallen, the men and women who died for their country.

These losses are the most meaningful piece of Moe’s service. Not his survival as a POW, not his resilience in the face of a complicated and emotional time in the US. Not his work post-service for Notre Dame’s ROTC program. No, it’s the men and women he lost. The lives America lost.

Boothe’s experience differs from Moe’s, and yet it too, like so many individual pieces of the veteran experience, shares a common denominator: compassion.

The founder of Final Salute, an organization dedicated to providing safe and suitable housing to homeless women veterans and their children, Boothe saw firsthand the lack of supportive services available to women veterans and decided to do something about it.

“I took an oath 17 years ago to never leave a fallen comrade, so it’s just me doing my part,” Boothe explained. “If everyone did something, then there would be nothing left to do, and the world would be a better place.”

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is in Columbus, Ohio. The Midwestern city is within a one-day drive or a one-hour flight for a large portion of the United States and Canada. John Glenn Columbus International Airport has several daily flight options. The museum is open 10 a.m-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday; Wednesdays are dedicated to guests aged 65 years and older, individuals with underlying health concerns and those accompanying them.