As the United States prepared to inaugurate a new president, the D.C. area — and the world — was shocked to witness an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. As the year went on, we said goodbye to one of the most iconic fish market shops at the D.C. Wharf, and were on the lookout for zebras that got loose in Maryland. The region was also hit by the remnants of Hurricane Ida and, like the rest of the world, continued to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Take a look back at some of NBC Washington's most-watched videos of 2021.
US Capitol Insurrection
Just six days into 2021, the beginning of the year was marked by the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Some of the D.C. police officers who rushed to the siege shared stories conveying the bravery they displayed when protecting others on that horrific day.
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“It was just chaos, pure chaos,” Officer Christina Laury said.
Laury, a six-year veteran of the force, was assigned to the west side of the Capitol.
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“I remember people swinging metal poles at us,” she said. “They were pushing and shoving. They were spraying us with bear mace and pepper spray.”
Mike Fanone, a narcotics officer and 18-year veteran of the force, described the scene as “brutal, medieval-style combat.”
Officer Daniel Hodges, a patrol officer for six years, was crushed in a doorway.
“They were calling us traitors, shouting at us, telling us to remember our oath, and eventually, they attacked us,” Hodges said.
In the aftermath, the National Guard was called in and remained on the grounds to protect against possible attacks leading up to the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Video showed Guard members sleeping on the floors of the Capitol.
Police Procession for Capitol Police Officer William 'Billy' Evans Killed in Attack
In April, family, lawmakers and fellow officers paid their respects to fallen U.S. Capitol Police officer Billy Evans, who was killed in a car-ramming attack outside the Capitol.
Evans was the fourth officer ever to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda.
Pat Collins and Mike the Cheater
Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike!
A vandal with a bone to pick spray-painted “Mike is a cheater” on an SUV parked in Northeast D.C.
The driver found the huge message on the hood and both sides of the car. The side mirrors were snapped off. The front and back windshields were smashed. Even the license plates were coated with black spray paint.
But it wasn’t Mike’s car.
News4's Pat Collins had some advice for Mike: Change your ways ... or change your name.
Collins' reporting swept over social media, even inspiring a musical version by popular comedy group The Gregory Brothers.
Zebras on the Loose
Animal control tried to catch a handful of zebras that were on the loose after they escaped from a farm in Prince George's County, Maryland.
The zebras became the talk of the town. They became popular Halloween costumes, and government officials even weighed in.
Congresswoman Eleanor Norton (D-DC) denied responsibility for letting the zebras on the loose.
“My alibi is solid," Norton said in a press release.
One zebra died while on the loose, but the other two were eventually recaptured.
Remnants of Hurricane Ida Hit D.C. Area
In September, remnants of Hurricane Ida hit the D.C. area, leaving people displaced and roads closed.
Several apartments in a Rockville, Maryland, complex flooded, killing a 19-year-old man and displacing 150 people after water poured into basement apartments as storms lashed the region, officials said.
Robert E. Lee Statue Removed in Richmond
In September, a crowd erupted in cheers and song as work crews hoisted an enormous statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee off the pedestal where it had towered over Virginia’s capital city for more than a century.
Captain White's Fish Market Barge Leaves the Wharf
One of D.C.’s favorite fish market stalls pulled away from the Southwest waterfront, stunning many longtime residents. Captain White’s Seafood was seen pulling its barge out into the Washington Channel.
For many people in the D.C. area, the fish market was a beloved tradition.
Cicadas Swarm the D.C. Area
Did you hear the buzz? Billions of cicadas crawled from underground in D.C., Maryland and Virginia for weeks of cacophonous mating.
Because cicadas breed and grow in 17-year cycles, this particular brood — one of the biggest — hadn't been visible in the D.C. area since 2004.
As cicadas took over, not even President Joe Biden was unable to avoid them. He had to swat one away before boarding Air Force One.
VP Kamala Harris Joins LGBTQ+ Pride March in D.C.
Vice President Kamala Harris joined an LGBTQ+ pride march in Washington, D.C., in June. Wearing a pink blazer and a “love is love” shirt, she walked with the procession for about a block.
“Happy Pride,” Harris told members of the crowd as she waved to people cheering on sidewalks.
9/11 Anniversary: American Flag Unfurled Over Pentagon
Twenty years after the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil, commemorations took place at all three sites: New York’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
A flag was unfurled over the west lawn of the Pentagon, followed by solemn performances of the national anthem.