Feature: 2020: The year in review

By Maggie Phillips

2020 — what a great year! Americans visited national parks in record numbers, drive-in movie theaters made an outstanding comeback, and the Cleveland Browns had their first winning season since 2007. Like any year; however, the world faced many hardships. For example, we’ve seen massive wildfire outbreaks in multiple regions, a global pandemic that has killed over 1.5 million people, and skyrocketing unemployment rates in the U.S. at their highest levels since the Great Depression.

Evaluating the year’s pros and cons, it actually seems like 2020 may not have been great for many people. However, as 2021 approaches, it is important that we acknowledge the unprecedented hardships we have faced and feel proud of ourselves for making it to the end of the year. Here is the year 2020 in review, including monthly photos from @TerminalTowerCLE’s twitter page to remind us of the community we share, no matter how alone we might feel.


With the continuation of devastating wildfires throughout Australia, 2020 was immediately off to a terrible start. As media outlets began reporting on a new contagious disease spreading throughout China, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle left the royal family and the United Kingdom officially left the European Union. Terminal Tower lit up purple and gold in honor of Kobe Bryant, who passed away at the end of the month in a helicopter accident.

Terminal Tower lit yellow and purple for Kobe, and Gianna Byrant’s death , Source: @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter


The month of February was off to an impressive start when Parasite became the first international film to win Best Picture at the Oscars. Shakira and J. Lo performed at the Super Bowl halftime show, and Terminal Tower lit up red with fireworks for Valentine’s Day. Other news included the U.S. Senate acquitting Trump of impeachment charges and the added leap day at the end of the month.

Terminal Tower lit red for Valentines Day, Source:  @wolffie32 on Twitter


After watching the spread of COVID-19 in other nations, the month of March marked the beginning of the U.S.’s long battle against the virus. Cleveland State University and college students throughout the country found out their classes would become entirely remote, and states began implementing lockdowns and curfews to prevent the illness from spreading.

Terminal Tower lit pink, green, purple and blue to brighten the mood during the beginning of the pandemic, Source: @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter


In the thick of the lockdown, many Americans received their first (and only) stimulus check of $1,200. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the presidential race, making Joe Biden the unofficial Democratic presidential candidate. In addition, Clevelanders found out that beginning on April 1st, all of their recycling was being sent to a landfill (instead of actually being recycled) because of an expired contract.

Terminal Tower lit blue for pandemic frontline workers, Source: @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter


This month, rumors of murder hornets spread throughout the country. At the end of May, we witnessed the unjust murder of George Floyd on May 25th by a Minneapolis police officer. This event sparked the series of massive protests throughout the U.S. and the globe, advocating for the defunding of the police and justice for Black lives lost to police brutality.

Terminal Tower lit red, white and blue for Memorial Day, Source: @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter


Black Lives Matter protests continued in full force throughout the month of June, with the participation of all 50 states and another 17 countries. Dr. Amy Acton, former director of the Ohio Department of Health, announced she would resign from her position. Biden accepted the democratic nomination at the DNC, and Tower City lit up yellow in honor of bees.

Terminal Tower lit yellow for bees, Source: @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter


In its ongoing battle against the coronavirus, Ohio saw a rise in cases throughout the month of July. Daily cases peaked at around 1,700 near the end of the month. In addition, a petition began circulating calling for the renaming of the city of Columbus to “Flavortown” in honor of Columbus native Guy Fieri.

Terminal Tower lit red and blue for the Cleveland Indians opening day of COVID-19 cntingency season, Source: @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter


In August, students and teachers had to adapt to new norms as schools reopened, implementing both in-person and remote learning methods. Catastrophic wildfires ravage America’s West Coast, destroying everything in their paths. In addition, an explosion occurred in Beirut, Lebanon, killing over 200 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Terminal Tower lit pink in honor of the “More than Pink Walk” in honor of breast cancer awareness, Source: @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter.


In September, the Cleveland Indians made the playoffs and CSU announced its controversial plan to merge colleges. The first presidential debate- co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic- was met by protestors standing along the Wade Lagoon. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her battle to cancer, leading Trump to appoint Amy Coney Barett to fill her seat.

Terminal Tower lit red for #RedAlertRestart campaign, Source: @TheCLE on Twitter


As Americans waited in massive lines to begin early voting for the November election, Trump announced he had been infected with COVID-19. OSU Football played their first game, and Ohio’s infection rates reached record highs. In international news, Socialist Luis Arce was elected president of Bolivia in a landslide, following the controversial election the previous year.

Terminal Tower lit in multicolor lights for a live show. All donations from the show were donated to the Cleveland Food Bank, Source: @DowntownCLE on Twitter


November’s election proved to be highly controversial, as Joe Biden’s victory prompted recount protests in multiple states. The first successful COVID-19 vaccine was announced by drug companies Pfizer and BioNTech with a 90% effectivity rate. CSU students were notified that classes would be entirely remote following Thanksgiving break due to the massive spike in coronavirus cases.

Terminal Tower lit orange for a Cleveland Browns win, Source: @TowerLightsCLE on Twitter


While December is not yet over, many notable events have already occurred. In the month’s first days, Cleveland was hit by a snowstorm prompting the cancellation of in-person classes for CSU students (despite their transition to completely remote). The UK became the first nation to begin mass distributing COVID-19 vaccines. On December 4th, the U.S. saw the highest daily number of COVID-19 cases at 229,243, and the highest number of deaths at 3,055 on December 9th.

Terminal Tower lit for Cleveland’s Winter Fest, Source: @DowntownCLE on Twitter