Home / News / Taylor Swift’s new love, debt cancellation gifts and solar eclipse are among the most enjoyable moments of 2023

Taylor Swift’s new love, debt cancellation gifts and solar eclipse are among the most enjoyable moments of 2023

KANSAS CITY, MO. — A romance that brought sports and music fans together, a celestial wonder that drew millions of eyes to the skies, and a spiritual homecoming for some Native American tribes were just some of the moments that inspired and brought us joy in 2023.

In a year that saw many wars, deadly mass shootings, earthquakes, wildfires, stories of sexual assault and other tragedies, these events were among the events that broke through the turmoil of 2023 and gave people hope.

As Taylor Swift says, “Hold on to the memories.” Here are a few of them:

That’s how Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce planned to impress superstar Taylor Swift when she went to her Eras Tour concert stop in the Missouri capital. It didn’t work at first.

But the romantic gesture and public admission of defeat on the “New Heights” podcast caught the Grammy Award winner’s attention. After the power couple went public with their relationship (she went to a Chiefs game and sat in a box with Kelce’s mother, to the delight of fans) they began taking the world by storm.

Sportscasters tallied Swift’s impact on Kelce’s game stats and TV ratings, national magazines offered comprehensive dating timelines, and Swift fans dug through Kelce’s old social media posts to make sure she was right for their queen.

The singer, then 33, changed the lyrics from “Karma is the man on the screen” to “Karma is the man in the Chiefs” while on tour in Buenos Aires. And fans went wild when she jumped into Kelce’s arms for an iconic post-concert kiss.

“I think we’re all excited about it. “This is what we’ve got until we start making good romantic comedies again,” said Michal Owens, 37, a longtime fan from the Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville.

This Halloween, as petite couples don fancy dresses and Chiefs jerseys, Owens has turned the outdoor display into a memorial. The mother of three dressed one 12-foot-tall (3.66 meters) skeleton in a Chiefs jersey, another in a sparkly dress, and then stacked three smaller skeletons on top of each other, creating what she calls a “Swifties tower.”

“There are so many things to be sad about in the world,” he said. “Why don’t you find something to support and give us some joy?”

From the coast of Oregon to the beaches of Corpus Christi, Texas, millions of people donned special goggles and looked up to see the dazzling “ring of fire” solar eclipse in October.

“It’s spiritual in a way, but almost tangible in a way,” said Angela Speck, an astrophysics professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, recalling the type of eclipse ancient Mayan astronomers called a “broken sun.”

Crowds in the path of the eclipse erupted in cheers as the moon blocked out all but the bright circle at the sun’s outer edge. Participants of the international balloon festival held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, screamed with joy from the launch pad. NASA broadcasters said they felt a chill as the moon cast a shadow over the earth, and one broadcaster was so overcome by the feeling that he began to cry.

This phenomenon was a prelude to the total solar eclipse that will sweep across Mexico, the eastern half of the United States, and Canada in April 2024. However, the next “ring of fire” eclipse will be visible in the United States until 2039 and beyond. only in parts of Alaska.

Surprise letters appear in mailboxes informing recipients that their medical debts have been erased.

They have Casey McIntyre to thank. The 38-year-old New York book publisher nearly died of cancer in May. But during what her husband, Andrew Rose Gregory, calls her “bonus summer,” the young mother made plans to help people after he was gone. Purpose: To erase medical debt.

In a message posted after his death in November, he asked for donations, writing: “I loved each of you with all my heart, and I promise you, I knew how deeply I was loved.”

By December, the campaign had raised more than $1 million, enough to erase nearly $100 million in debt. That’s because the nonprofit RIP Medical Debt says every dollar donated buys about $100 in debt.

“His positive spirit resonates with so many people,” said Allison Sesso, president and CEO of the nonprofit.

This effort was inspired by people McIntyre met during treatment. They were worried not only about their health, but also about how they would pay for their care. Sesso said he had good insurance and “couldn’t imagine having to deal with this on top of cancer.”

The fundraiser, which quickly smashed the original goal of $20,000, gave her family some “something positive” to focus on in the midst of their pain. This was especially difficult for the family because when McIntyre died, her daughter was only a toddler, not yet 2 years old.

“This may sound crazy, but he didn’t seem angry at all,” Sesso said. “He was like, ‘This happened.’ ‘I’ve accepted that this happened and I’m going to do this positive thing.’”

When the Grand Canyon became a national park more than a century ago, many Native Americans who called it home were displaced.

Meaningful steps have been taken to address the federal government’s actions in 2023. It was celebrated in May with a ceremony to rename a popular campground in the interior canyon from Indian Garden to Havasupai Gardens, or “Ha’a Gyoh” in the Havasupai language.

This marked a pivotal moment in the tribe’s relationship with the U.S. government, nearly a century after the tribe’s last member was forcibly removed from the park. The Havasupai Tribe remained landless for a time until the federal government set aside land for members deep in the Grand Canyon.

Then in August, President Joe Biden signed a national monument designation — despite opposition from Republican lawmakers and the uranium mining industry — to help protect about 1,562 square miles (4,046 square kilometers) north and south of Grand Canyon National Park.

This was a big step for the Havasupai and 10 other tribes who call the Grand Canyon their ancestral homeland.

The name of the new national monument is Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni. For the Havasupai people, “Baaj Nwaavjo” means “where tribes roam,” while for the Hopi Tribe, “I’tah Kukveni” means “our footprints.”

Jack Pongyesva of the Grand Canyon Trust, an advocacy group that represents tribal and environmental issues in the region, said the move restricts new mining claims and brings tribal voices to the table to manage the environment.

He said this could also open the door to more cultural tourism, where visitors can learn not only about the landscape but also about the tribes themselves.

Pongyesva, a member of the Hopi Tribe, said the dedication “I hope this is the beginning of healing, of looking back, seeing what was wrong, and moving forward together.”

Firs are a mainstay at Christmas tree parties. But in Isle Royale National Park, near Michigan’s Canadian border, balsam firs were being destroyed.

Michigan Tech biologist Rolf Peterson said gray wolves on a remote cluster of islands in Lake Superior are disappearing from inbreeding, causing the elk population to become a “runaway freight train” and stripping trees that are the wolves’ staple food during long, snow-covered winters. . .

An ambitious plan has been drawn up to transport wolves from the mainland to the park by air, and it’s starting to make a big difference. A report published this year shows that the resurgent wolf population is increasing and elk numbers are decreasing, giving trees a chance to recover.

There were critics of the plan, but Peterson said there were no other viable options. Due to climate change, particularly global warming, the number of ice bridges is decreasing, reducing the ability of wolves to move off the mainland and diversify the gene pool.

“This was a huge undertaking,” Peterson said, and it turned out “remarkably well.”

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