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The 40 Happiest Photos Taken This Year

Forty moments of pure joy from this year. Enjoy.

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2. The son who reunited with his mother after seeing her photo online


Olga Hernandez hugs her son Gabriel Salmeron Hernandez in Mexico. Salmeron Hernandez, who had disappeared during his journey through Mexico to reach the U.S., was reunited with his mother after seeing her photo on the Internet with a group of parents traveling through the area.


4. The little boy who reunited with his father after his tour of Afghanistan

Marc Piscotty / AP

Gavin Shaw flashes a smile as he hugs his father, Master Sergeant Adam Shaw, during a Welcome Home Ceremony in Fort Carson, Colorado. The soldiers had been deployed for nine months in various regions of Afghanistan.

7. The sailor and his wife

Natacha Pisarenko / AP

An Argentine sailor greets a relative as he arrives in Buenos Aires airport. Nearly 300 navy cadets arrived in Argentina's capital from Ghana on an Air France charter hired by the government after Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez refused to negotiate the release of the Argentine naval sailing ship, Libertad. The ship had been held in a port outside Ghana's capital when a Ghana court ruled to detain the vessel as collateral for Argentina's unpaid debts.


9. The space geeks who made it to Mars

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Curiosity team members celebrate at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, after the successful landing of the Curiosity rover on Mars.

10. China's first female astronaut


Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut, waves next to her comrade Jing Haipeng as she comes out of the re-entry capsule of China’s Shenzhou 9 spacecraft.

12. The unlikely dinner guest


A shopkeeper greets U.S. Army Captain Kelvington in southern Afghanistan. Afghan and U.S. Army soldiers were invited to dinner with one of the local elders in Senjaray.


16. The Marshmallow Kid and the POTUS


U.S. President Barack Obama reacts as Joey Hudy of Phoenix, Arizona, launches a marshmallow from his Extreme Marshmallow Cannon in the State Dining Room of the White House during the second White House Science Fair in Washington.

17. The cruise ship survivor and his family

NOAH SEELAM/AFP / Getty Images

Jonathan Pathri, a survivor of the capsized Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia, is greeted by his parents on his arrival in India.


21. The people watching the final beam being lifted up the new World Trade Center

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

People watch as the last steel beam of the World Trade Center, signed by members of the crews that helped build the tower, be hoisted 977 feet to the tower.


23. The boy and his cat

Hannah Potes / AP

David Nyssen holds his family cat Baby close after being reunited with him at Michigan State University's Veterinary Clinic. Baby was shot in the head with a crossbow in the Nyssen family's neighborhood in Jackson, Michigan.

26. The therapy mini-horse and the old man

Shawn Rocco / AP

Jack Cutler smiles as he pets Tootsie, a miniature horse, at the Total Life adult day care center in Cary, North Carolina. With their calm personalities and small size, Tootsie and her companion Carmen, not seen, work well as therapy animals.

28. The kids at the 7-5-3 festival

AFP / Getty Images

Children in traditional dresses are all smiles at Tokyo's Meiji Shrine to mark the 7-5-3 festival. The 7-5-3 festival celebrates when children reach the ages of three, five, and seven.

29. Ramon and his "R" tooth smile

Jorge Silva / Reuters

An miner named Ramon flashes a gold letter "R" on his tooth as he smiles after working in a mine in the southern state of Bolivar. In the triangle that connects Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana, a large number of illegal gold and diamond prospectors dream of changing their lives overnight by finding a huge bonanza.

30. The dancing Pearl Harbor veterans

Hugh Gentry / Reuters

Pearl Harbor survivors Victor Miranda smiles as Paul Kennedy and Mickey Ganitch dance to music from the '40s era before the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

32. Happy Holi people


A couple smiles with their faces covered in coloured powder during Holi festival celebrations in Kuala Lumpur. Holi, also known as the festival of colors, celebrates the death of the Demoness Holika, and the love between Lord Krishna and his beloved Radha.

33. The Washingtonians celebrating their historic gay marriage victory

Ted S. Warren / AP

Revelers display U.S. and gay pride flags as they celebrate early election returns favoring Washington state Referendum 74, which would legalize gay marriage.

34. This happy couple just married in Seattle


Corianton Hale and Keith Bacon embrace after becoming the first couple to get married at Seattle City Hall in Seattle, Washington, on Dec. 9. Washington made history last month as one of three U.S. states where marriage rights were extended to same-sex couples by popular vote.

36. These Paralympians, too

Clive Davis / Getty Images

Katherine Downie, Ellie Cole, and Maddison Elliot of Australia celebrate as teammate Jacqueline Freney wins them the gold medal in the women's 4x100m freestyle, also in the Paralympic Games.

38. The Sandy survivors who thought they lost their family history


Rosemary McDermott and her husband opened a safe containing a family genealogy in the Breezy Point section of Queens. They salvaged the safe from the basement of Rosemary's mother's home after Superstorm Sandy.

40. This couple that finally got their wedding photo after 88 years

Rex Features

A centenarian couple who have been married for 88 years have their wedding photos taken. Wu Conghan, 101, and his wife Wu Songshi, 103, married in 1924, and have been together for almost 90 years. When they got married, there wasn’t the option of wedding photographs.