(ABC) — The news kept coming in 2012, from Mother Nature to deadly shootings to the Presidential election.
There was no end – in 2012 – to the tragedy and suffering in Afghanistan.
While more than 2,000 U.S. troops have now been killed in the nation’s longest war, the President pledged 2013 would end differently.
“This time of war began in Afghanistan and this is where it will end,” President Obama said during a stop at Bagram, Afghanistan.
In addition to the ultimate sacrifice by American soldiers, there were notable passings here at home.
There was legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno and singer Whitney Houston, who was just 48 years old.
New Year’s Eve will never be the same again, as we lost iconic entertainer Dick Clark, and a trailblazer of a different sort, Astronaut Neil Armstrong.
There were man-made tragedies, such as the Costa Concordia sinking, and natural disasters, including tornadoes and western wildfires.
Still, no act of nature was as massive or devastating as Superstorm Sandy.
“Breezy Point is destroyed. It feel like…it is like the apocalypse,” noted ABC News producer Keturah Gray.
The economy of 2012 took us on an unforgettable ride. From big bets gone wrong, to IPO’s gone haywire.
“The performance of the stock has obviously been disappointing,” said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Of course, there was a Presidential race taking shape.
As the political conventions provided some unscripted drama, with Clint Eastwood talking to an empty chair to Mitt Romney’s troubles that were highlighted by a secret video tape.
Romney: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.”
Still, President Obama helped his opponent by a forgettable debate performance.
He would then return to form in debates two and three, eventually trouncing Romney in every important battleground state.
His second biggest victory of the year? Obamacare.
The President didn’t back down from other potential controversies, including gay marriage.
The gun control debate – invigorated – in the wake of several deadly mass shootings.
One at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, another during a midnight movie in Aurora, Colo.
But nothing rocked the country more than the shooting deaths of 20 little children and 6 faculty at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
“I said to them I need you to know that I love you all very much and that it’s going to be okay because I thought that was the last thing they were ever going to hear,” said Sandy Hook teacher Kaitlin Roig.
“For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory,” added the President.
Trayvon Martin became a household name.
The teen’s shooting death by neighborhood watch captain, George Zimmerman, sparked a heated debate on race and justice.
Penn State pedophile Jerry Sandusky faced justice, and was sentenced to life behind bars.
And some of our heroes also fell from grace.
There was cancer crusader and cyclist Lance Armstrong, who was officially stripped of his Tour de France titles, stopped in his tracks by a doping scandal.
Our greatest general, David Petreaus, was undone by a sex scandal.
The middle east was, once again, on fire. From the Civil war in Syria to renewed fighting in Israel and Gaza, to the deadly September 11 attack on our consulate in Libya.
“It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi, because it is a city that he helped to save,” the President noted.
Like any year, 2012 ends with many memories and some uncertainties, as our economy approaches the fiscal cliff.