Year in Review: People and Culture

Posted by on Dec 30, 2014 in Year in Review

The btw Year in Review continues. This time, let’s examine some of the People and Culture events that made the news in 2014.


This past year marked major milestone anniversaries on a number of important cultural events. Here are some of the most significant:


It has been 70 years since D-Day, the military invasion considered the “beginning of the end” of World War II. With veterans of that war now aging into their 80s and 90s, it has become more important than ever to pay our respects to those who have been called “The Greatest Generation.” Coinciding with World War II, this year also marked 70 years since Anne Frank, the Jewish teen who chronicled her family’s daily life in hiding, was captured by the Nazis. Frank’s diary was later published and became a best seller, as well as an example of the difference one person can make.


Celebrating Gold anniversaries were two major pieces of United States legislation: President Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty and a number of significant Civil Rights laws (coming one year after the famous March of Washington). First Lady Michelle Obama also celebrated her fiftieth birthday.


The late night sketch comedy television show Saturday Night Live celebrated 40 years of satirizing our most sacred and ridiculed aspects of popular culture and politics.

graphic for the information superhighway

Credit: Eyewire/Getty Images; one of the names that has been given the Internet over the years is the Internet Superhighway.

Thirty and Below

In an era where life “off line” seems impossible to comprehend, we can look back to the beginnings of the digital age with the creation of the Macintosh computer (30 years ago) and the proposal that launched the World Wide Web (25). 

There’s a Day (or Week or Month) For That

Commemorative holidays, as well as designated weeks or months, are intended to highlight achievements of a particular culture, person, or notable cause or event.


This year, btw offered an interesting spin on familiar holidays such as St. Patrick’s Day and April Fools Day, as well as a introductory primer on those you might know as well (like Ramadan and Earth Day).

Notable Figures

Nelson Mandela is no stranger to btw. Since his death in 2013, we have routinely brought you stories of his influence. Back in 2009 the first Nelson Mandela Day was established, where organizers encourage the public to commit to at least 67 minutes (signifying each year of his service). Less known is Amelia Earhart Day. Celebrated in the small town of Atchison, Kansas, people come together to remember the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic ocean.

Good Day

Nearly every day of the year has been designated as a day to recognize something deemed worthy of our attention. This year, we pointed out the following worthy days: Youth Service day, where young people come together to make a difference in their own community; International Youth Day, a totally separate day drawing attention to the impact of young in our society; International Day of Friendship, Women’s Equality day, National Read a Book Day, and the all-important World Toilet Day (seriously, places without access to proper sanitation are suffering all kinds of strife).

A Whole Month

Sometimes a day is not enough. This year, we featured a few stories about Hispanic Heritage Month, including a look at Miquel de Cervantes’ classic novel, Don Quixote, and an exploration of the U.S. government’s ongoing foreign policy with our neighbor to the south. September kicked off Self Improvement month, just in time to remind us of our forgotten New Year’s resolutions. If one of those was to write a novel, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) showed up in November to motivate budding novelists to keep on track.

 What Do You Think? How many of the news stories above do you remember? Which was the most compelling to you? Explain your answer.