What I’ll remember from 2011

By Paris Walter | Published Saturday, December 31, 2011

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As I was walking through town, I overheard a grumbling woman say to the person next to her, “I’m so ready for this year to be over.”

Paris Walther

It set me aback just long enough to wonder what possibly could have occurred in her life for her to verbalize such a negative remark amidst the holiday season. Colored lights dotted storefronts, and the Salvation Army bell ringers happily chatted with little kids dropping money in the red kettle. Although the wind bit at everyone’s exposed cheeks, the air whispered greetings to all who shopped, creating a pleasant holiday atmosphere.

It saddened me slightly to hear that the woman longed for a calendar change during the best time of the year.

Her comment set the wheels in my mind spinning, giving me an opportunity to recollect the year’s events that I, a 17-year-old high school girl, found to be memorable and important.


As a kid thrust into the Apple generation, I have always known the name Steve Jobs. Associated with anything and everything Macintosh, his name symbolizes numerous things, but to me, it means determination.

Starting out as a 16-year-old kid from California, Jobs helped build the Apple computer in a garage along with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne. Countless obstacles tried to hinder his successes, but as time wore on, Jobs found creative ways to help make Apple more prosperous and inventive, inspiring not only the technology world, but everyone else as well to “Think Differently.”

On Oct. 5, 2011, Steve Jobs lost his battle with pancreatic cancer, dying at the young age of 56. Though I never knew this innovative man, I feel like I got to take a look at how his mind worked through everything he created for Apple.


I sat giggling in the back of my mom’s white Suburban, teasing my little brother and playing games while my mom filled up her gas tank at Walmart. As she got back into the driver’s seat and turned on the radio, I vaguely remember that the station we were listening to sounded differently. Unlike the normal music that dominated the station, a somber sounding man reported over the air, warning us about a terrible event that had occurred, saying that he didn’t know much but that America had been under attack.

The car grew quieter and quieter as the man continued to speak. My brother and I weren’t particularly clear on what was going on at the time, but there was a sense of devastation undeniable to even the smallest of ears. We sat in silence until the commercials came on, unaware of how that announcement would forever remain burned into our memories. That is where I was when the world stopped turning.

Eventually, I learned what happened Sept. 11, 2001, to the Twin Towers and what role Osama bin Laden played in the tragedy. I discovered a part of the map I had never heard of before and a war that we jumped into almost immediately afterwards. Completely enveloped in war and worry for almost 10 years, America never really got a chance to stop and catch its breath until this year.

On May 2, 2011, a special forces military unit killed Osama bin Laden, sparking reactions and controversy everywhere. President Barack Obama announced Oct. 21, 2011, that the war in Iraq was finished and troops would be sent home at the end of the year. As far away as all of this was from Wise County, I almost feel like I lived a chapter in the history book. This year took a huge turn in the situation overseas, and my generation saw it all unfold from beginning to end.


As long as I can remember, my mom always watched Oprah. My siblings and I would groan whenever she snatched the remote out of our hands to turn it on after school. Normally when that happened, I would go outside or do my homework, anything to avoid 45 minutes of Oprah. I longed for the day she realized that the talk show was as boring as I thought it was. Yet, as I grew older, I did come to appreciate the show more so and at times found myself sitting down with my mom to watch an episode.

The Oprah Winfrey Show aired for the last time May 25, 2011, bidding farewell to the many viewers and fans it gained in 25 seasons and 4,561 episodes. Although I cannot say I mourned over the fact that the show ended, I will say that the impact it had on people was inspiring and that I hope to be able to positively influence people the way she did with her show.

Just as the woman implied, 2011 didn’t always go smoothly for everyone; it was a year of triumph and defeat, beginnings and endings, happiness and loss, yet, I believe that each event was what made 2011 noteworthy and memorable, a year to finish wholeheartedly.

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