2009: Year in Review

┬áThis past New Years Eve was not only the end of 2009, it was also the end of the decade. ’09 was a big year for most people. With many changes and a lot of happenings, 2009 was a year to remember.

The year started off with the continuation of the global recession that sent us spiraling in the years past. But this was all supposed to turn around when we inaugurated our first African American president. Whatever their political affiliation, nobody can dispute that Barack Obama made history when he took the oath of office on January 20.

With promises of change, President Obama took office and immediately began to battle the growing economic problem with his extremely controversial $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment ACT. Despite his attempts at bipartisonship, Republicans still criticize his push for a government programs leading reform.

As part of his plan, Obama started the “Cash for Clunkers” plan which gave people up to $4,500 for trading in their old cars for newer, more gas efficient vehicles. This fueled the economy and pulled the dying auto industry from the abyss.

Despite the recovery plan, joblessness still reached the highest in 26 years. The stimulus package still provided much-needed relief for some home owners, but even with that, online help and government aid, foreclosures still shot up in 2009.

This year also watched the passing of many cultural icons. The year started with Jett Travolta, the son of famed John Travolta. This shocking death was followed by the passing of actress Natasha Richardson, we would know her from ‘The Parent Trap’ where she played Lindsey Lohans mother. Next we said farewell to actor David Carradine. We would recognize him from “Kill Bill.”

With the end of June came the death of one of the biggest pop idols since Elvis. The country watched in disbelief as they found out Michael Jackson had passed away. As if the american heart wasn’t already crushed, actress Farrah Fawcett, who was hailed as a great feminist and was one of the original “Charlie’s Angels”, died. The month ended with the passing of everyone’s favorite TV salesman, Billy Mays. Everyone knows him from his eccentric OxiClean commercials.

In July Superbowl star, 2003 NFL MVP, and the first African American quarterback in the Superbowl Steve McNair passed away. July also saw the death of famed newscaster Walter Cronkite.

Later that year, acting legend Patrick Swayze passed away. Everyone has seen at least one movie this man has been in. For example, Dirty Dancing and Ghost.

We can’t look back at ’09 and not talk about Swine Flu. It seemed to come out of nowhere. The new virus, H1N1 (as it is more formally called), is a combination of swine, avian and human influenza thought to have been first contracted by a child in Mexico in March. By April, the disease was spreading rapidly around the globe, causing mass panic.

It wasn’t officially declared a pandemic until mid June. Tens of thousands were predicted to die this winter from H1N1, but because of a slowed spread and vaccinations, the death toll only reached 4,000. Still bad, but not as bad as they were predicting.

For more information, visit http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1FLU/