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The 45 Most Powerful Photos Of 2012

There are some incredibly inspiring pictures in here, but warning: Some of these may break your heart.

1. Tourists sunbathing next to the Costa Concordia

Max Rossi / Reuters

Vacationers bask in front of the wreckage of capsized cruise liner Costa Concordia. Twenty-eight people were killed when the cruise ship capsized off the coast of Italy.

2. The Waldo Canyon fire

Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post / AP

The Waldo Canyon fire burns an entire neighborhood near the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colorado. In June, Colorado endured nearly a week of 100-plus-degree days and low humidity, creating a devastating formula for volatile wildfires across the state.

3. Outside the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado

Ed Andrieski / AP

Storm clouds gather above a memorial for the victims in the shooting across the street from the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, in July.

4. Memorial Day 2012

John Moore / Getty Images

Karen Clarkson lies over her slain son's grave at the National Cemetery on Memorial Day. Her son, Sgt. Joel Clarkson, was serving as an Army Ranger team leader in Afghanistan when he was shot and killed in March 2010.

5. The Paralympics

Dennis Grombkowski / Getty Images

Nicholas Taylor of the United States and teammate David Wagner celebrate after the Quad Doubles Wheelchair Tennis Gold Medal match.

6. Trayvon Martin protests in Georgia

Jessica McGowan / Getty Images

College student Jajuan Kelley covers his mouth with a Skittles wrapper as he stands in a crowd of thousands rallying at the Georgia State Capitol in memory of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. Protests were held nationwide in reaction to the death of Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager whose shooting by a neighborhood watch captain has led to questions of the "stand your ground" law in Florida and other states.

7. The Virgin Mary left standing in Breezy Point, Queens

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

A Virgin Mary is all that remains from a home that was destroyed in Breezy Point, Queens, after Hurricane Sandy.

8. Anti-gay hate crimes in Ukraine

Anatolii Stepanov / Reuters

Unidentified people beat Svyatoslav Sheremet, head of Gay-Forum of Ukraine, in May. Sheremet was attacked after meeting with members of the media to inform them that a scheduled gay parade was canceled due to threats of violence from neo-Nazis and other hate groups. The attackers ran off when they realized members of the media were documenting the attack.

9. People who lost family members during the uprising in Egypt react to Hosni Mubarak's prison sentence

Suhaib Salem / Reuters

Relatives of people who died during Egypt's revolution react after a court sentenced President Hosni Mubarak to life in prison in June.

10. Nik Wallenda tightroping over Niagara Falls

Frank Gunn / AP

Nik Wallenda tightroped over Niagara Falls on a 2-inch-wide wire. He's the first person to ever cross directly over the falls from the U.S. into Canada.

11. New York Fashion Week

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Fashionistas pose for photographs in front of a homeless man outside Moynihan Station following a New York Fashion Week show in September.

12. A woman's suicide attempt in Greece

Panagiotis Tzamaros / Reuters

An employee from a government-owned company in Athens, Greece, threatens to jump from her office window after being told she would likely be laid off.

13. Curiosity Control Room celebrates

Brian van der Brug / AP

The control room for the Curiosity Space Rover erupts in cheers after finding out they successfully landed on Mars.

14. Mars


Thanks to Curiosity, this is one of the clearest images of Mars ever taken.

15. A Bolivian woman taking on a group of riot police

David Mercado /LANDOV / Reuters

Thousands of people with crutches and in wheelchairs protested against the government of Bolivia in February. They were protesting what they believe to be an inadequate welfare system.

16. A couple discovering their family records survived Hurricane Sandy

Mark Lennihan / AP

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.

17. The protester in Bangladesh about to be smashed with a baton

Andrew Biraj / Reuters

A police officer uses his baton against an activist during a protest against the government in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Demonstrators demanded that the government withdraw a power-tariff hike marched toward the energy ministry.

18. A Syrian refugee vs. Mickey Mouse

Jamal Saidi / Reuters

A Syrian refugee boy points a plastic toy pistol at a man in a Mickey Mouse costume on the first day of Eid al-Adha at a park in Beirut.

19. Greece

Aris Messinis/AFP / Getty Images

A police officer stands in front of a wall of flames during a protest in Athens. Violent clashes erupted as tens of thousands of demonstrators marched in opposition to a fresh round of budget cuts that the Greek government is expected to announce.

20. Seaside Heights, New Jersey

Doug Mills/ New York Times / AP

The Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, after Hurricane Sandy. The Casino Pier coaster will be removed from the water.

21. A boy in Nepal being evicted from his home

Stringer / Reuters

A boy cries as he holds his sister in his lap after a confrontation with squatters and police personnel in Kathmandu, Nepal.

22. A man and his dog

Nacho Doce / Reuters

A man embraces his dog as she receives saline from a drip from a veterinarian hospital financed by Sao Paulo’s municipal government. The hospital offers free health care for the pets of low-income residents in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

23. The grieving women of South African mine workers

Str / AP

Women protest in front of a court in South Africa. The women were demanding the release of husbands, brothers, and sons among the 259 arrested miners expected to be charged with public violence.

24. Kicking riot police in Greece

ARIS MESSINIS / Getty Images

A man in Greece kicks riot police back.

25. Family being forced to go back to Myanmar

Saurabh Das / AP

Mohammad Rafique, a Rohingya Muslim from Myanmar, begs a Bangladeshi coast guard official not to send his family back to Myanmar.

26. The Harveyville, Kansas, tornado

Matthew Fowler/ Emporia Gazette / AP

The damage and wreckage left after a tornado passed through Harveyville, Kansas, in February.

27. The man who set himself on fire for Tibet


A Tibetan exile runs through a street during a protest against the upcoming visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao.

28. The West Liberty, Kentucky, tornado

ERIC THAYER/Landov / Reuters

A woman holds a doll she found in grandmother’s tornado-damaged house in West Liberty, Kentucky.

29. The father saving his daughter's life in Syria

MARCO LONGARI / Getty Images

A Syrian man carries his wounded daughter outside a hospital in the northern city of Aleppo in September. Syrian troops shelled several districts in Aleppo and clashed with rebels.

30. A woman grieving for her brother and cousin in Brooklyn, New York

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

Jennifer Saravia grieves next to a memorial outside the apartment where her brother and cousin were shot dead.

31. Manhattan without lights

Edwardo Munoz / Reuters

Before and after shots of Manhattan after Hurricane Sandy. Nearly 200,000 people lost power in downtown Manhattan for about a week.

32. The Dutch floods in February

Robin Utrecht/AFP / Getty Images

A man looks outside his flooded house in the Netherlands.

33. The student riots in Chile

Luis Hidalgo / AP

Protesters (and dogs) shield themselves from a police water canon after a student protest ended in clashes with authorities in Santiago, Chile.

34. Two firefighters consoling each other after finding out two of their comrades were killed

Matt Rourke / AP

Firefighters greet each other in the aftermath of a fire in a warehouse in Philadelphia. Two firefighters were killed in the blaze.

35. The 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks

Mary Altaffer / Reuters

Vincenzo Scibetta is consoled by his father, Charles Scibetta, as his mother's name, Adrian Victoria, is read during ceremonies marking the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. This year, the new World Trade Center reclaimed the New York skyline, becoming the tallest building in New York.

36. Felix Baumgartner's 24-mile free-fall from space

Red Bull Stratos/Jay Nemeth / AP

37. The president and First Lady looking down onto the 9/11 memorial

Kevin Lamarque/LANDOV / Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama look down at the 9/11 Memorial while touring the One World Trade Center building in New York in June.

38. The Space Shuttle Enterprise flying above New York City

Handout / Getty Images

39. The governor of New Jersey and the president coming together after Hurricane Sandy

Larry Downing / Reuters

President Barack Obama hugs North Point Marina owner Donna Vanzant as he tours damage done by Hurricane Sandy with New Jersey Governor Cristie.

40. Two women from Maryland getting engaged on election night

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Keesha Patterson of Ft. Washington, Maryland, proposed to her girlfriend, Rowan Ha, during the election night victory rally in Chicago. Maryland, along with three other states, voted in favor of gay marriage in November.

41. An Aurora survivor

Robert Ray / AP

Christine Barton kisses her son Stephen Barton on July 22 at the Medical Center of Aurora, in Aurora, Colorado. Stephen Barton was wounded in the mass shooting.

42. The wedding held during a monsoon in Manila

Ramoncito Campo / Reuters

Ramoncito Campo kisses his wife Hernelie Ruazol Campo on a flooded street during a southwest monsoon that battered Manila, Philippines, in August. The newlywed couple pushed through with their scheduled wedding despite severe flooding that inundated wide areas of the capital and nine nearby provinces.

43. The sister outside the elementary school

Jessica Hill / AP

Jillian Soto uses a phone to get information about her sister, Victoria Soto, who was killed at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

44. The students fleeing the elementary school


In this photo provided by the Newtown Bee, Connecticut State Police lead a line of children from the Sandy Hook Elementary School to safety.

45. The sailor and and his wife who overcame pretty high odds to be together