2021 is finally here, and I am so glad, because I thought 2020 would never end. I love thinking about the past though–even when it hurts, so when I started thinking about 2021, I immediately started thinking about what anniversaries would be celebrated this year. Which movies would get feted for a 20th anniversary? Which books would be re-released with new covers and forewords? And high moments in history would we reflect upon?

Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is the attacks of 9/11,and I’m not going to put them on this list along with more trivial things like movies and websites. That feels trite, and the 20th anniversary of 9/11 will impact this country all year. I recommend that you start planning how you will remember this anniversary early this year. Will you go to the site to pay your respects? Will you plant 2,996 flags to remember the lost? 

Our country will mourn especially hard this September, and I don’t want to downplay that or compare the horrors of 9/11 with anything else. With that in mind, let’s turn to some more trivial events, movies, TV shows, books, and news items that are turning 20 in 2021 or 100 in 2021. 

May these memories give you hope and lightness throughout the year.

Legally Blonde

That’s right! Our beloved girl-boss film, starring Reese Witherspoon as the ultimate law school student Elle Woods, was released in theatres in July 2021. Since then, Witherspoon filmed a sequel, in which Woods takes on Congress and animal testing, and there is supposedly a third film in the works. 


I truly believe Wikipedia changed the internet–frankly, probably the world–and it’s turning 20 this year! Wikipedia the website was launched in January 2001, and wow has it grown! Heck, it’s become synonymous with information and research, for good and for bad. While we all know it’s not the end all be all of research, it’s a great resource for so many!

The 1st Harry Potter Movie

While author JK Rowling may be persona non grata these days, it’ll be interesting to see how the world reacts to the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The movie premiered in November 2001 and was the highest-grossing film of 2001. 

Game Boy Advance

Video game nerds unite! The Game Boy Advance–which dominated holiday wish lists for years–turns 20 this year, so if you’ve got an old one in your attic, now is your time to shine. It’s so fun to look back on how video game consoles have changed through the years. 

The First Bush Tax Cut

Okay, let’s get a little political real quick. I feel like even now the “Bush tax cuts” get referenced almost weekly by some politician, but this year, 2021, the first “Bush Tax Cut” is turning 20. Oh, how the taxes keep on coming…

Monsters, Inc

Another beloved favorite is turning 20 this year. The Disney movie Monsters, Inc was released in theatres in early November 2001 and ever since, the world has made jokes about socks, Mike Wazowski, and more. Time for a rewatch, anyone?

The First Self-Contained Mechanical Heart

A little heart-warming story now. See what I did there? Okay, well in July 2001, doctors in Louisville performed the first successful transplant of a self-contained artificial heart. The AbioCor helped extend the life expectancy of the recipient, whose new mechanical heart functioned entirely within his own body–no need for outside batteries or wires. It weighed only one kilogram! The patient, Robert Tools, died about 151 days later of a stroke and other complications. 

The Alabama Ten Commandments Statue

Republican black sheep Roy Moore made waves in 2001 when, as Chief Justice of the Alabama State Supreme Court, he had a Ten Commandments Statue installed at the court. It weighed over 5,000 pounds. Lawsuits ensued, as I’m sure you guessed. Ultimately, it became a divisive, political issue related to the 1st Amendment, religion, the separation of church and state, and the autonomy of a Chief Justice in regards to his associates. The District Court found the monument unconstitutional, more legal fighting ensued, and it was ultimately removed from the property. In early 2020,it was installed on private property owned by Roy Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law. 

Nakai, The First Orca Born Via Artificial Insemination

Though no one thinks of whales the same since Blackfish, this year an orca named Nakai is turning 20! That’s celebration enough, but science is interested because Nakai was the first orca born who was conceived via artificial insemination. Nakai lives at SeaWorld Dan Diego. 

The Patriot Act

Another flirtation with politics here. Love it or hate it or somewhere in between, the Patriot Act, signed by President Bush 43 in response to 9/11, turns 20 this year. This law has received a LOT of criticism, but as of the writing of this article, it has not expired, though it has been amended. 

The Princess Diaries

Another classic movie! How was 2001 so stacked? Princess Diaries, the film adaptation of the Meg Cabot novel, premiered in August 2001. It starred Anne Hathaway and Julie Andrews, and if you don’t watch it regularly, what are you doing?

The Arrest of the Green River Killer

Let’s take a true crime moment! In November 2001, Gary Ridegeway was arrested and became the face of the Green River Killer, who had terrorized the Green River area in Washington in the 80s and 90s. Ridgeway is convicted of killing 48 people and has admitted to killing at least 71. He was arrested leaving work. 

Billie Eilish

Singing sensation and Gen Z icon Billie Eilish is turning 20 this year. It’s kind of insane to think about the success she’s already had and she can’t even legally drink. Eilish, whose song “Bad Guy” is now stuck in your head, also sings the theme of the new James Bond movie due out later in 2021. She’s already won five Grammy awards. 


Historical fiction lovers swoon an sway for Atonement, the critically acclaimed novel by Ian McEwan that was later adapted to an Oscar-winning film. The film is regarded as one of the best novels by many and was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize. 

The Fairly OddParents

TV Show time! The Fairly OddParents, the animated TV show about Timmy Turner, Cosmo, and Wanda, premiered on Nickelodeon in March 2001. It aired for 10 seasons, 172 episodes, and you can stream it on CBS All Access. 

Lizzie McGuire

Lizzie McGuire, another TV show that dominated our childhoods, also premiered in 2001. The Hilary Duff-led show was a cultural phenomenon for 3 seasons. The show then spawned the amazing movie, which premiered in 2003. You can stream the show and the movie on Disney+. 

Big Brother

Reality TV is such a thing now, but back in 2001, there were only a few shows in that sphere, and one of them, Big Brother, is still around and evolving today. Big Brother has had 22 seasons and has definitely changed through the years, but there’s a reason it’s still around!

The Human Genome Sequence

In more science news, 2021 marks 20 years since the Human Genome Sequence was revealed. The Project took over a decade to sequence the base pairs of human DNA, and papers related to the sequencing were officially published in 2001! It took a few more years for the project to be considered “complete” but those first publications were a BIG scientific step for the entire world. 

Artemis Fowl

Do you remember reading Eoin Colfer’s book about an Irish criminal mastermind that happened to be 12? I certainly do, and I loved the story and solving the code on the bottom of the pages. The first Artemis Fowl book was published in 2001, and it spanned eight books in the main series. There’s now a spin-off series about his siblings, a film on Disney+, and graphic novel adaptations. 

The Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth

 Obviously, a new species of sloth did not suddenly develop in the year 2001, but it was in 2001 that the Pygmy Three-Toed Sloth was first described by researchers with the Smithsonian in 2001, and now, 20 years later, sloths are very trendy.  Congrats to those researchers and those little sloths living their best life. 

Michael Jordan Scores 30,000 Points

In sports news, in January 2021, Michael Jordan became the 4th NBA player EVER to score 30,000 points in their career. He played for the Wizards at the time. When Jordan retired from the NBA, he retired with a career total of 32,292 points. 

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member