In 2021, the world confronted the second year of a global pandemic that continued its deadly toll despite the arrival of vaccines, the U.S. Capitol insurrection and the unmistakable realities of climate change. ABC News’ photo editors selected some of the most dramatic images from an unforgettable year.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent on horseback tries to stop a Haitian migrant from entering an encampment on the banks of the Rio Grande near the Acuna Del Rio International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 19, 2021.
Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images
A protester who identified herself as a New York City school teacher demonstrates against the mandate that teachers and staff in the New York City school system be vaccinated against the coronavirus disease, outside the Department of Education headquarters in the Brooklyn borough of New York, Oct. 4, 2021.
People shelter in the House gallery as Trump supporters overtake security at the U.S. Capitol in an attempt to interrupt the count of electoral votes for the 2020 presidential election, Jan. 6, 2021.
A curious polar bear surprises a ship's crew in Svalbard, Norway, Jan. 14, 2021.
Franco Banfi/Solent News via Shutterstock
Evacuees from Afghanistan board a military aircraft during an evacuation from Kabul, as the U.S. military withdrew after 20 years of war, Aug. 19, 2021.
Brandon Cribelar/U.S. Marine Corps
President Donald Trump addresses his supporters in a rally on the ellipse in front of the White House on Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. As Congress prepares to affirm President-elect Joe Biden's victory, thousands of people gathered to show their support for President Donald Trump and his baseless claims of election fraud.
Kamala Harris became the first woman vice president of the United States on Jan. 20, 2021. She is also the first Black woman and first person of Indian descent to hold the position. She is the fourth woman nominated to a major party ticket.
Harris is sworn in as the 49th vice president of the United States during the presidential inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2021.
Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Family members of U.S. Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans, including wife Shannon Terranova, their 9-year-old son Logan and 7-year-old daughter Abigail, watch as his casket is carried by a joint service honor guard down the East Front steps of the Capitol after lying in honor in the Rotunda on April 13, 2021, in Washington, D.C. Evans died after being struck by a car attempting to crash through the barricades at the Capitol.
Jabin Botsford/Pool via Getty Images
A house is covered by ash from a volcano that continues to erupt on La Palma in Spain's Canary Islands on Oct. 30, 2021.
The Cumbre Vieja volcano on the Spanish island of La Palma continued to erupt for weeks, destroying hundreds of buildings as it spewed volcanic ash and rivers of lava.
An orphaned mountain gorilla named Ndakasi lies in the arms of her caregiver, Andre Bauma, before dying several days later, on Sept. 26, from a prolonged illness.
Brent Stirton/Getty Images
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel survey the scene of the partially
collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building as search and rescue operations continue, June 25, 2021, in Surfside, Fla.
It took weeks for firefighters to comb through the pancaked wreckage of a collapsed beachfront condominium in Surfside, Florida, that claimed the lives of 98 people.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
A U.S. Marine grabs an infant over a barbed wire fence during an evacuation at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Aug. 19, 2021.
United States troops took control of the airport in Kabul for evacuations amid chaos as President Joe Biden's Aug. 31 withdrawal deadline neared, Afghanistan's president fled the country and the Taliban seized control of the presidential palace on Aug. 15, all but ending America's 20-year campaign as it began: under Taliban rule.
Omar Haidiri via AFP via Getty Images
People embrace during a gathering around a mural of George Floyd following the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, April 20, 2021, Atlanta. Chauvin was found guilty of murder and later sentenced to 22 ½ years in prison after pressing his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 1/2 minutes during an arrest captured on video.
Robin Rayne/Zuma Press
Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney wipes away a tear during her testimony at a Senate Judiciary hearing on the FBI handling of the investigation into Larry Nassar’s sexual abuse of Olympic gymnasts, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2021. Maroney was joined by her fellow gymnasts Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nichols as they detailed their own abuses and the FBI’s investigation failures.
Saul Loeb/Pool via AFP/Getty Images
Migrants gather on the Belarus-Polish border near Gordno, Belarus, Nov. 15, 2021, as they attempt to cross into the European Union.
Oksana Manchuk/BelTA via AFP/Getty Images
People react as a sudden rain shower soaks them while riding out of a flooded neighborhood in a volunteer high-water truck assisting people evacuating from homes after neighborhoods flooded in LaPlace, La., on Aug. 30, 2021, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images
An elephant searches for food in the kitchen of a home in Pa La-U, Hua Hin, Thailand, June 20, 2021.
Radchadawan Peungprasopporn via AFP/Getty Images
Asylum-seeking migrant families attempt to get off an inflatable raft with the help of a Texas Ranger officer in Roma, Texas after crossing the Rio Grande river into the United States from Mexico, April 5, 2021.
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny makes a heart gesture from inside a glass cell during a court hearing in Moscow, Feb. 2, 2021. Navalny, Russia’s best-known opposition leader, who has built a following with his anti-corruption investigations into powerful figures around President Vladimir Putin, was imprisoned and charged with violating the terms of a 2014 suspended sentence for embezzlement upon his arrival back in Russia.
Moscow City Court via AFP/Getty Images
A child, sitting on the shoulders of her father, holds a U.S. flag as she intently watches the Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular over the East River in New York City, July 4, 2021.
Team members David Belyavskiy, Artur Dalaloyan, Nikita Nagornyy and Denis Abliazin of the Russian Olympic Committee react after winning gold in the men's team final on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre, July 26, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. The U.S. men’s gymnastics team finished fifth overall, behind Japan and China.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
People play hockey at Lake Baikal, after a match organized to draw attention to the lake's environmental problems, in Bolshoye Goloustnoye, Russia, March 8, 2021. The so-called “Last Game” was held on the frozen lake to bring awareness to climate change.
Cristina Mamani walks near an empty boat in Lake Poopo, Bolivia's second largest lake, which has dried up due to water diversion for regional irrigation needs and a drier climate, according to local residents and scientists, in Lake Poopo, Bolivia, July 24, 2021.
An injured demonstrator is carried away from the scene, March 14, 2021, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, as protests continue despite the intensifying violent crackdowns by security forces.
EPA via Shutterstock
Family members of Vijay Raju, who died due to COVID-19, mourn before his cremation at a crematorium ground in Giddenahalli village on the outskirts of Bengaluru, India, May 13, 2021.
Tiffany Miller is embraced by her daughter Desilynn, 6, as she holds her 1-year-old godchild Charleigh, after the family returned to their destroyed home in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida in Golden Meadow, La., Sept. 1, 2021.
Mabitchuri, a Yawalapiti child, takes part in an "end of mourning dance" during the Kuarup funeral ritual to honor the memory of Cacique Aritana at Xingu Indigenous Park in Brazil, Sept. 9, 2021.
A maybug beetle climbs on a plant in a garden outside Moscow on May 14, 2021.
Yuri Kadobnov/AFP via Getty Images
Simone Biles looks at the balance beam before competing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Aug. 3, 2021. Biles withdrew from all the previous medal events when her mental well-being made her feel unsafe competing. She won the bronze medal in the event.
A man accused of robbery sits on the floor next to members of the Taliban at a police station in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 30, 2021.
Bulent Kilic/AFP via Getty Images
Crime scene evidence and abandoned property sits on Main Street the morning after a car plowed through a holiday parade killing six people in Waukesha, Wis., Nov. 22, 2021.
Medical workers are reflected on a window during a tour in nightclubs and restaurants to check that they do not exceed the allowed capacity, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, in San Pedro Garza Garcia, on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico, July 24, 2021.
A massive sinkhole caused by catastrophic flooding washed away swaths of land in Erfstadt, Germany, July 16, 2021. Record rainfall washed homes, overflowed rivers and left scores dead in Germany and Belgium, as extreme weather due to climate change struck Europe.
Rhein-erft-kreis via AP
Savannah and Sam Peyton huddle under a sleeping bag at their home in Austin, on their fourth day without electricity after a winter storm struck Texas, Feb. 18, 2021.
Tamir Kalifa/The New York Times via Redux
Smoke envelops trees as the Sugar Fire burns in Doyle, Calif., July 9, 2021. The Sugar Fire, which covered more than 100,000 acres, was one of more than 8,000 in the state this year amid an ongoing drought.
Palestinians shelter near houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza City, Gaza, May 25, 2021.
Fatima Shbair/Getty Images
An injured girl is carried on a stretcher a day after an airstrike on a market in Ethiopia, June 23, 2021.
Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP via Getty Images
Wooden boats fan out around their moorings at the Dhaka River Port in Bangladesh waiting to transport workers from the outskirts to their jobs in the city center, Sept. 7, 2021.
Mustasinur Rahman Alvi/Medialys Images via Shutterstock
A model prepares backstage at Harlem Fashion Week in the Manhattan borough of New York, Sept. 5, 2021.
Elisa Balsamo of Italy reacts after Ebtissam Zayed Ahmed of Egypt cycles over her in the aftermath of a crash in the women's omnium scratch race at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Aug. 8, 2021.
A memorial to those who died at the Astroworld Festival is displayed outside of NRG Park on Nov. 9, 2021, in Houston. Ten people died following a massive crowd surge during a performance by rap superstar Travis Scott.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images
Betty Nelson, 81, who got in line at 6 a.m., reads on her tablet while waiting for a COVID-19 vaccine in Sequim, Wash., Jan. 23, 2021.
Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to the media as he walks to the Senate floor of the U.S. Capitol, Nov. 2, 2021, in Washington, D.C., during negotiations on President Biden's infrastructure and spending bills.
Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA via Shutterstock
Cows stranded in a flooded barn are rescued after rainstorms lashed the western Canadian province of British Columbia, in Abbotsford, Canada, Nov. 16, 2021.
A stunt car flips in the air in front of a packed crowd during a chase scene at National Trails Raceway in Newark, Ohio, Aug. 14, 2021.
Ty Wright/The Advocate via USA Today Network
American Tara Davis lands in the Olympic women’s long jump final at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo, Aug. 3, 2021.
Demonstrators in Chicago hold signs as they march during a protest in the wake of Kyle Rittenhouse's "not guilty" verdict in a Kenosha courtroom, Nov. 20, 2021. Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges in the killing of two people and shooting of another during protests over the police killing of Jacob Blake.
A pedestrian walks at dusk as ice and icebergs float in Disko Bay on Sept. 02, 2021, in Ilulissat, Greenland. Greenland is experiencing one of its biggest ice-melt years in recorded history.
Mario Tama/Getty Images