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The year 2021 was wrought with tragedy but also offered a glimmer of hope.

After 2020’s COVID pandemic forced some already struggling small businesses to close their doors for good, those that survived found new ways to thrive and bounce back, some stronger than ever. Consumer confidence returned as the cases died down and an end appeared to be in sight.

The Texas travel and tourism industry took a massive hit in 2020 due to COVID-19 precautions but over the summer, saw a surge in travel across the state giving us a much needed return to normalcy and a feeling that we will get through this pandemic and eventually things will go back to the way they used to be.

Whether a result of increased vaccination rates or lower case counts, the Texas travel crowd moved on with life and the Texas Travel Alliance, the primary advocate and voice for the Texas Travel Industry, coined the term “Revenge Travel” to describe the influx of tourists in 2021 who resented being forced to stay home for much of the previous year.

Brutal reality set in as the Delta and Omicron variants reared their ugly heads but for a short time it felt like we may have been out of the weeds.

We lost many notable people over the past year, not all to COVID and including but not limited to: Colin Powell, Norm MacDonald, Charlie Watts, DMX, Rush Limbaugh, Dustin Diamond, Larry King, Hank Aaron and John Madden.

We could not escape the year without another crushing blow as “America’s grandmother” Betty White passed away of the last day of the year. We can all look to White as an example of hope and perseverance through her work, not only as an entertainer, but through her fight for animals and defiance of racism, as far back as the 1950’s.

Much has changed since we collectively counted down to 2021 and said goodbye to 2020, which was a tough year in most of our lives. The year 2021 was one of hope and despite its setbacks, we realized and end to the pandemic may be in sight but what matters is how we handle our selves and treat each other during the hard times.

We invite you to follow along with the news of the day in 2022 through our print and digital outlets: The printed edition of the Jacksonville Daily Progress; our web presence at www.jacksonvilleprogress.com and our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/jacksonvilleprogress.

Best wishes for a happy and successful 2022 from the staff and management of the Daily Progress.

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