The 100 Year Perspective

On January 1, 1921, California beat Ohio State 28-0 in the Rose Bowl. In that same week, the country’s first religious service radio broadcast aired on KDKA-Pittsburgh, Turkey made peace with Armenia, and Eugene O’Neill’s “Diff’rent” premiered in New York City. The second year in what would turn out to be an explosive decade of new inventions and advancements in science, medicine, and technology was off to an exciting start!

In 1921, both Woodrow Wilson (until March 4, 1921) and Warren G. Harding (from March 4, 1921) were President of the United States; Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson were the popular musicians of the day; Albert Einstein received the Nobel Prize in Physics; Coco Chanel introduced “Chanel No. 5”; and New York Yankee pitcher Babe Ruth hit his 138th home-run, breaking the career home-run record that had been held by Roger Connor for 23 years!

Also of note in 1921, John Larson invented the lie detector (the Polygraph test); the first Miss America Pageant was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey; American biochemist Elmer McCollum identified the presence of a component in cod liver oil which cures rickets, which he calls vitamin D; and the United States Congress approved the burial of an unidentified soldier from World War I at Arlington National Cemetery, creating the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

Nineteen-twenty-one was also the year that Congress passed The Emergency Quota Act to limit the number of immigrants coming from Eastern and Southern Europe into the United States. And, the year of the Tulsa Race Riot, one of the worst incidents of mass racial violence in the country’s history. The Chicago White Sox Baseball team was accused of throwing the World Series in 1921, and Franklin D. Roosevelt was diagnosed with polio.

We entered the second decade of the 20th century in the midst of a depression that would gut the economy in 1920 and 1921. As a country, we struggled to accommodate and employ returning WWI veterans, and recover from the Spanish flu pandemic that killed 675,000 Americans in 1918 and 1919. Yet a century later, we look back at the “Roaring 20s” as a period of unprecedented growth and economic prosperity in this country

While every year has its highlight moments, not all moments make it into the history books or are acknowledged as being still significant a century later. Time provides perspective, with the power to turn a current event into a moment in history, everyday objects into valuable antiques, and passing fads into defining eras. 

Here we are now, 100 years later, once again in the midst of a pandemic, an unstable economy with depression-era unemployment, racial discourse, and a transfer of political power. Yet we can look to the years ahead in this decade and know that if history is an indicator of the future, we are destined to come back stronger than ever!

So, what will history remember about this decade based on our first year? That as a country and people we are incredibly adaptable and resilient. That in the face of adversity, we rise, create, and move forward. That has certainly been the case since last March. 

With necessity the mother of invention, our current social distancing has given rise to a consumer demand for technology-based products, services, and applications that help us live, work, and socialize remotely. In the era of social distancing we have embraced virtual events, webinars, online learning, and “zoom” meetings. We now shop from home for almost anything and conduct business everywhere. I believe the technology and companies behind these enabling products and services will continue to play an important role in the post-Covid decade ahead. 

This will also be the decade known for a new category of consumer products based on emotion recognition and computer vision technologies, and the universal application of AI (Artificial Intelligence) into such everyday services as navigation apps, streaming services, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps, home personal assistants, and smart home devices. 

It is, however, our strongest hope that 2021 be remembered as the year we developed a vaccine and the rapid testing options for Covid that allowed us to return to work and physically embrace the people and things we love to do, once again. 

We wish you a happy holiday season and thank you for your support and encouragement this past year as we looked to find new and creative ways to provide you with our stories, marketplace news, calendar of events, and resource directories when we are not in print. 

Remain healthy and hopeful! We will return in the new year.