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NPR member station photographers share memorable photos from 2021

Long lines mostly comprising seniors and their caretakers during the first day of the mega vaccine center at Fair Park in Dallas on Jan. 11. <a href="https://www.keranews.org/texas-news/2021-01-24/doses-are-trickling-in-a-look-at-vaccine-rollouts-in-the-rio-grande-valley-and-dallas">Full Story</a>
Keren Carrión/KERA
Long lines mostly comprising seniors and their caretakers during the first day of the mega vaccine center at Fair Park in Dallas on Jan. 11. <a href="https://www.keranews.org/texas-news/2021-01-24/doses-are-trickling-in-a-look-at-vaccine-rollouts-in-the-rio-grande-valley-and-dallas">Full Story</a>

"Photojournalists capture moments of celebration, perseverance and the beauty of everyday life," Brian Munoz, a multimedia reporter at St. Louis Public Radio, says.

We asked photographers from NPR's member stations to contribute memorable images from 2021. They shared stories of grief along with moments of joy.

In another year where the COVID-19 pandemic raged on, vaccines were distributed to Americans, old and young. This year we saw unsettling weather events and natural disasters where communities were fighting off wildfires in California to residents assessing damage after tornadoes struck Missouri.

There were still things that brought joy during this tumultuous year, including graduations, race cars and cowboys. Throughout the images, there is a strong focus on what binds communities together.

"While out creating photographs, I spend time trying to understand people's experiences," Dee Dwyer, a photographer at WAMU in Washington, D.C., says. "My goal is to show all aspects of human life with the primary focus being humanity."

Here is a selection of memorable stories from this year.

Kiersten Vicknair celebrates the inauguration of Biden and Harris in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20.  <a href="https://dcist.com/story/21/01/20/inauguration-ceremony-2021-joe-biden-dc-capitol/">Full Story</a>
/ Tyrone Turner/ WAMU/ Dcist
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Tyrone Turner/ WAMU/ Dcist
Kiersten Vicknair celebrates the inauguration of Biden and Harris in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20. <a href="https://dcist.com/story/21/01/20/inauguration-ceremony-2021-joe-biden-dc-capitol/">Full Story</a>
Brooke Penaluna and Kevin Weitemier filter samples of river water on the banks of the Santiam River's south fork east of Cascadia, Ore. <a href="https://www.opb.org/article/2021/03/13/salmon-trout-health-oregon-watersheds-dna-research/">Full Story</a>
/ Bradley W. Parks/OPB
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Bradley W. Parks/OPB
Brooke Penaluna and Kevin Weitemier filter samples of river water on the banks of the Santiam River's south fork east of Cascadia, Ore. <a href="https://www.opb.org/article/2021/03/13/salmon-trout-health-oregon-watersheds-dna-research/">Full Story</a>
Apr. 14, 2021 - As Capitol Police officers salute, an honor guard carries the casket of Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans up the steps of the Capitol. <a href="https://dcist.com/story/21/04/14/in-photos-honoring-slain-capitol-police-officer-william-billy-evans/">Full Story </a>
/ Tyrone Turner/ WAMU/ Dcist
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Tyrone Turner/ WAMU/ Dcist
Apr. 14, 2021 - As Capitol Police officers salute, an honor guard carries the casket of Capitol Police Officer William "Billy" Evans up the steps of the Capitol. <a href="https://dcist.com/story/21/04/14/in-photos-honoring-slain-capitol-police-officer-william-billy-evans/">Full Story </a>
Al Action is overjoyed when he speaks in Boston about the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin on April 20. <a href="https://www.wbur.org/news/2021/04/20/boston-activists-and-community-members-hope-chauvin-guilty-verdict-signals-more-justice-to-come">Full Story</a>
/ Jesse Costa/WBUR
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Jesse Costa/WBUR
Al Action is overjoyed when he speaks in Boston about the guilty verdict against Derek Chauvin on April 20. <a href="https://www.wbur.org/news/2021/04/20/boston-activists-and-community-members-hope-chauvin-guilty-verdict-signals-more-justice-to-come">Full Story</a>
Lauren Alexander is vaccinated against COVID-19  in Seattle on April 15. <a href="https://www.kuow.org/stories/blog-pandemic-updates-for-washington-april-12-16">Full Story</a>
/ Megan Farmer/KUOW
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Megan Farmer/KUOW
Lauren Alexander is vaccinated against COVID-19 in Seattle on April 15. <a href="https://www.kuow.org/stories/blog-pandemic-updates-for-washington-april-12-16">Full Story</a>
Glenda Cardenas cries after moving clothes from her late husband, Miguel Torres, at their home in Waterbury, Conn. Cardenas, a mother of two, awaits whether she'll be granted legal status in the U.S., or face deportation to Honduras. <a href="https://www.ctpublic.org/news/2021-11-29/conn-mother-waits-to-hear-if-shell-be-deported-as-new-immigration-enforcement-guidelines-take-effect">Full Story</a>
/ Joe Amon/Connecticut Public
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Joe Amon/Connecticut Public
Glenda Cardenas cries after moving clothes from her late husband, Miguel Torres, at their home in Waterbury, Conn. Cardenas, a mother of two, awaits whether she'll be granted legal status in the U.S., or face deportation to Honduras. <a href="https://www.ctpublic.org/news/2021-11-29/conn-mother-waits-to-hear-if-shell-be-deported-as-new-immigration-enforcement-guidelines-take-effect">Full Story</a>
Anne Laurie Pierre, a recent graduate of Everett High School, stands outside of her home in Somerville, Mass., on June 15. She juggled a job and caring for younger siblings with remote classes. <a href="https://www.wgbh.org/news/pandemic-prayers-covid-took-her-father-cancer-threatens-her-mother-but-a-high-school-senior-still-has-her-faith"> Full Story</a>
/ Meredith Nierman/GBH News
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Meredith Nierman/GBH News
Anne Laurie Pierre, a recent graduate of Everett High School, stands outside of her home in Somerville, Mass., on June 15. She juggled a job and caring for younger siblings with remote classes. <a href="https://www.wgbh.org/news/pandemic-prayers-covid-took-her-father-cancer-threatens-her-mother-but-a-high-school-senior-still-has-her-faith"> Full Story</a>
(Left) Anne Laurie Pierre dusts off a photo of her father who contracted COVID-19 and died in April of 2020. (Right) Pierre says goodbye to her mother, who is battling cancer, as she heads to a local hospital for a bone marrow transplant.
/ Meredith Nierman/GBH News
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Meredith Nierman/GBH News
(Left) Anne Laurie Pierre dusts off a photo of her father who contracted COVID-19 and died in April of 2020. (Right) Pierre says goodbye to her mother, who is battling cancer, as she heads to a local hospital for a bone marrow transplant.
A worker moves a trolley of freshly cooked hot dogs into the cooling at the Hummel Bros. hot dog factory in New Haven, Conn., on July 1. <a href="https://www.ctpublic.org/show/seasoned/2021-07-01/summer-parties-with-martie-duncan-hummel-hot-dogs-and-miki-sudo">Full Story</a>
/ Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public
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Ryan Caron King/Connecticut Public
A worker moves a trolley of freshly cooked hot dogs into the cooling at the Hummel Bros. hot dog factory in New Haven, Conn., on July 1. <a href="https://www.ctpublic.org/show/seasoned/2021-07-01/summer-parties-with-martie-duncan-hummel-hot-dogs-and-miki-sudo">Full Story</a>
Ke' Elronn Hatley grew up racing horses in south Oak Cliff in Dallas with his 10 siblings. The Hatley family was one of the first African American families to race quarter horses in Texas. <a href="https://www.keranews.org/arts-culture/2021-08-03/the-legacy-of-black-cowboys-is-a-missing-chapter-in-texas-history">Full Story</a>
/ Keren Carrión/KERA News
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Keren Carrión/KERA News
Ke' Elronn Hatley grew up racing horses in south Oak Cliff in Dallas with his 10 siblings. The Hatley family was one of the first African American families to race quarter horses in Texas. <a href="https://www.keranews.org/arts-culture/2021-08-03/the-legacy-of-black-cowboys-is-a-missing-chapter-in-texas-history">Full Story</a>
Clunkers-turned-race cars have their day to shine as Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park plays host to 24 Hours of Lemons, an endurance race for cars made with less than $500, in Thompson, Conn.<a href="https://www.ctpublic.org/news/2021-08-13/lemons-live-their-nascar-dreams-at-thompson"> Full Story</a>
/ Tyler Russell/Connecticut Public
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Tyler Russell/Connecticut Public
Clunkers-turned-race cars have their day to shine as Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park plays host to 24 Hours of Lemons, an endurance race for cars made with less than $500, in Thompson, Conn.<a href="https://www.ctpublic.org/news/2021-08-13/lemons-live-their-nascar-dreams-at-thompson"> Full Story</a>
Proud Boys and anti-fascist counterprotesters clash in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 22. <a href="https://www.opb.org/article/2021/08/22/far-right-activists-counterprotesters-gather-in-portland/">Full Story</a>
/ Jonathan Levinson/OPB
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Jonathan Levinson/OPB
Proud Boys and anti-fascist counterprotesters clash in Portland, Ore., on Aug. 22. <a href="https://www.opb.org/article/2021/08/22/far-right-activists-counterprotesters-gather-in-portland/">Full Story</a>
Emily Li-Nagy, 2, holds a "Wu for Mayor" sign at the Michelle Wu election night party at the Cyclorama in Boston on Nov. 2. This year, Boston held a historic election, voting in its first-ever woman mayor and Asian American mayor. <a href="https://www.wbur.org/news/2021/11/02/michelle-wu-victory-boston-mayor">Full Story</a>
/ Jesse Costa/WBUR
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Jesse Costa/WBUR
Emily Li-Nagy, 2, holds a "Wu for Mayor" sign at the Michelle Wu election night party at the Cyclorama in Boston on Nov. 2. This year, Boston held a historic election, voting in its first-ever woman mayor and Asian American mayor. <a href="https://www.wbur.org/news/2021/11/02/michelle-wu-victory-boston-mayor">Full Story</a>
Irene Felsch, 7, reacts as resident physician Riti Chokshi (right) administers the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Louis Children's Hospital on Nov. 9. <a href="https://news.stlpublicradio.org/coronavirus/2021-11-18/after-initial-rush-childrens-covid-19-vaccine-appointments-available-in-st-louis">Full Story</a>
/ Brian Munoz/STLPR
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Brian Munoz/STLPR
Irene Felsch, 7, reacts as resident physician Riti Chokshi (right) administers the COVID-19 vaccine at St. Louis Children's Hospital on Nov. 9. <a href="https://news.stlpublicradio.org/coronavirus/2021-11-18/after-initial-rush-childrens-covid-19-vaccine-appointments-available-in-st-louis">Full Story</a>
A Christmas tree stands in a home that was severely damaged in Defiance, Mo., on Dec. 13. A tornado ripped through the community of roughly 150 on Dec. 10, killing one and several damaging over a dozen homes. <a href="https://news.stlpublicradio.org/health-science-environment/2021-12-16/volunteers-help-tornado-victims-in-defiance">Full Story</a>
/ Brian Munoz/STLPR
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Brian Munoz/STLPR
A Christmas tree stands in a home that was severely damaged in Defiance, Mo., on Dec. 13. A tornado ripped through the community of roughly 150 on Dec. 10, killing one and several damaging over a dozen homes. <a href="https://news.stlpublicradio.org/health-science-environment/2021-12-16/volunteers-help-tornado-victims-in-defiance">Full Story</a>
Lakisha Lowe spends time at home in Washington, D.C., with her son, Channing Jr., and framed items of Miamor, her daughter who died three weeks before Lakisha's due date in 2018. D.C. mothers of all races experience higher rates of infant mortality than the national average. <a href="https://dcist.com/story/21/10/20/black-mothers-dc-motherhood-birthing-health-disparities/">Full Story</a>
/ Dee Dwyer/DCist/WAMU
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Dee Dwyer/DCist/WAMU
Lakisha Lowe spends time at home in Washington, D.C., with her son, Channing Jr., and framed items of Miamor, her daughter who died three weeks before Lakisha's due date in 2018. D.C. mothers of all races experience higher rates of infant mortality than the national average. <a href="https://dcist.com/story/21/10/20/black-mothers-dc-motherhood-birthing-health-disparities/">Full Story</a>
The disco ball shines on rollerbladers on the first evening of the Texas Skatium reopening in Garland, Texas. <a href="https://artandseek.org/2021/11/23/the-best-dang-skating-rink-this-side-of-the-world-garland-mainstay-is-rolling-again-after-winter-storm/">Full Story</a>
/ Keren Carrión/KERA News
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Keren Carrión/KERA News
The disco ball shines on rollerbladers on the first evening of the Texas Skatium reopening in Garland, Texas. <a href="https://artandseek.org/2021/11/23/the-best-dang-skating-rink-this-side-of-the-world-garland-mainstay-is-rolling-again-after-winter-storm/">Full Story</a>

Grace Widyatmadja is a photo editing intern at NPR.

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