2014: An eventful year before it even begins

As the smartphone calendar app closes on 2013, we can open it up for 2014 and start tapping in a busy year of notable events.

The year begins with a pair of major sporting events at the mercy of nature. The first open-air Super Bowl in a northern city will be played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey. And the first subtropical Winter Olympics will open in Sochi, Russia, where the average temperature in February is 50 degrees.

The NCAA lacrosse championships return to M&T Bank Stadium in May, where fans believe the game belongs. And the Army-Navy football game will be back in Baltimore in December, where the Midshipmen hope to extend their 12-year domination of the Black Knights. The soccer World Cup will take place in Brazil this summer, where they are rushing to finish the stadiums — and to keep protesters unhappy with the economy off the streets.

Also this year in Baltimore, we will be celebrating the 200th birthday of "The Star-Spangled Banner" in early September with tall ships, the Blue Angels, fireworks and much more.

It was in the early hours of Sept. 14, 1814, that Francis Scott Key gazed through the haze of a British bombardment at Fort McHenry and spied the Stars and Stripes, which inspired him to write the poem that was to become the national anthem.

We have the possibility of a Kim Kardashian-Kanye West wedding, as well as the midterm congressional elections. Plenty of drama and rancor await.

All 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 in the Senate will be contested in November, as well as 38 governorships — including in Maryland.

Most American troops are expected to return from Afghanistan in 2014, unless Prime Minister Hamid Karzai changes his mind and asks the U.S. to stay for another decade.

Voters in Scotland will vote on possible independence from the United Kingdom. Still no word on whether some folks in Western Maryland will push for their counties to leave the state. But the Kardashian family dynamics will be much more fun to watch than any political tussle.

Here are more things to watch for in 2014.

100th anniversaries

In 1914, the War to End All Wars began with the assassination June 28 of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo. Just a month earlier, Congress passed a joint resolution creating Mother's Day.

The Panama Canal will celebrate its 100th birthday, and so will frozen food. It took 10 years and cost 5,600 lives to create the shortcut between the American coasts. And a century ago, Clarence Birdseye sold the first frozen fish.

Charlie Chaplin appeared in his first movie 100 years ago, and Gulf Oil gave out the first road maps. And Babe Ruth made his professional baseball debut for the minor league Baltimore Orioles, shutting out the Buffalo Bison, 6-0.

75th{+ }anniversaries

2014 will mark 75 years since the release of "The Wizard of Oz" with Judy Garland and "Gone With the Wind" with Clark Gable.

Nylon stockings debuted in 1939, and so did baseball slugger Ted Williams. On May 2, Lou Gehrig played his final game, weakened by the disease later named for him.

Batman was born 75 years ago, and so was nuclear fusion. This year marks the anniversary of the private letter of warning Albert Einstein wrote to Franklin D. Roosevelt about the terrible power unleashed from the atom. Adolph Hitler would openly threaten Jews in a speech that summer. By Sept. 1 he had invaded Poland to ignite World War II. By October, the Holocaust had began.

50th anniversaries

It was in 1964 that the surgeon general issued the first report that smoking could be harmful to your health. On July 14, the United States sent its first 600 troops to Vietnam. By July 27, some 5,000 more troops were on their way there. The bombing of North Vietnam began less than two weeks later.


Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.