The events of this year were like one of those black holes astronomers are always trying to make us comprehend: a force so very large and unfathomably dark it is capable of bending space and time.
The hours following the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C. were instantly sucked into oblivion. And as 2001 comes to a close, the gravity of that day makes it hard for most of us to remember anything of consequence that happened in the weeks before.
But the year 2001 the first in the 21st century, according to millennium sticklers did have 365 days. Just as the tragedy prompted incredible acts of heroism and charity, so too were the cataclysmic events in the U.S. partially counterbalanced by humanity's usual triumphs and pratfalls. Two great skyscrapers are gone, but other great buildings were erected, such as Santiago Calatrava's winglike art museum in Milwaukee, a celebration of light, beauty and space. Author J.K. Rowling's wizards came to life on the screen and people flocked to theaters for a little levitation. A 15-year-old boy from Nepal climbed the world's highest mountain; a 60-year-old millionaire paid $20 million to hitch a ride into space. Even in a terrible year, clocks continue to tick, the pages of the calendar still turn. Here are some of the memories of 2001 that shouldn't be forgotten.