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Year in review: Heartbreak and heroes of 2012

December 18, 2012|By Morgan Little

2012 was a year marked by national tragedy -- the shootings in Newtown, Conn. and Aurora, Colo.,  the damage from Hurricane Sandy --  as well as instances of heroism and transcendence.

The presidential election dominated headlines throughout 2012, with a number of candidates jockeying for position in the Republican primaries. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came out on top, though he eventually lost to President Obama in the general election. The nation debated the "47%," "legitimate rape," who built it, and still, even with the election over, consensus remains rare in Washington, D.C.

The killing of black teen Trayvon Martin by Neighborhood Watch volunteer George Zimmerman riveted the nation, as did the Colorado movie-theater shootings and images in court of gunman James E. Holmes, his hair dyed orange. In December, the massacre of 20 young children and eight adults at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School made us weep.

But it was also a year for heroes large and small -- people like Victoria Soto, who saved her students amid the gunfire at Sandy Hook.  Then there was the Brooklyn bus driver captured on video stepping up to catch a 7-year-old girl when she fell from a third-floor window. After 68-year-old bus monitor Karen Klein was bullied by boys on a school bus, there was a public outcry and an Internet campaign that netted more than half a million dollars, enabling her to retire.

The Summer Olympics, held in London, provided heroes of the sporting kind and more proud moments for Americans.

The U.S. women's gymnastics team won its second-ever team gold medal, with Gabby Douglas becoming just the fourth U.S. gymnast to win the all-around title. Misty May-Treanor and Kerry Walsh Jennings took their third straight Olympic gold medal in their swan song as a beach volleyball duo. U.S. runner Allyson Felix came home with three gold medals. And swimmer Michael Phelps recovered from a slow start at the Games to add to his legend.

Those are just a few of the highlights from 2012. Click through the gallery above to remember and relive some of the major news events of 2012.

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