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New Year’s magic

My Take | January 11, 2021 | By:

by Janet Preus

There were four of us sitting by a bonfire in front of our cabin late on New Year’s Day. It was miraculously warm for early January in Minnesota. On another recent New Year’s, we entertained ourselves by running outside and throwing a cup of boiling water in the air for the fun of watching instantly formed ice crystals rain down. It was 35° below zero. 

But this night was mild—about 25°F with no wind. We meant to have about an hour together, but we lingered around the fire for well over two hours. The conversation bounced from family matters to pandemic behaviors, but under it all was this sense that because it was a new year, things would be different. “Hooray,” we were all thinking, “2020 is over!” The magic of a new year.  

We all knew that the pandemic was far worse at that moment than it was when we first took up the protocols necessary to keep ourselves safe and well. But no matter. It’s a new year, and the nightmare of 2020 can’t be the nightmare of 2021, too, can it? 

It certainly never crossed our minds that the U.S. Capitol building would be stormed by a mob. 

Whatever happens in 2021, it will not look like 2020—of that I am sure. Order was restored in Washington relatively quickly. However, there will be no magical transformation from the worldwide pandemic tragedy to its eradication. It will be under control at some point—hopefully in 2021. 

We have written extensively in our publications, including Advanced Textiles Source, about the extraordinary measures the textile industry has taken to support the fight against COVID-19. Where would we be now without the quick response of this industry to produce PPE, never mind all the other textile products we require?

The feature for this month addresses another PPE issue: ballistics protection. We saw ample evidence of its importance on the Capitol lawn January 6. The materials that make up the end products have been around for a long time, and the industry is getting close to new technological improvements in ballistic materials—improvements that have been in the works for quite a while. But much is at stake with ballistics protection, and those who develop these products know that they have to get it right. 

From protection against a deadly virus to protection from acts of violence, this industry has played a critical role, and 2021 will be no different. A new year will not magically produce new solutions, just because we hang a new calendar on the wall; new solutions will come from literally years of diligent work, and then one day, that “magic” will be ready to share with the world.

Janet Preus is senior editor of Advanced Textiles Source. She can be reached at

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