The Jan. 6 insurrection, revisited : It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders It's been a full year since the January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, perhaps the most shocking political event of the past year — or even this generation. But has our understanding of the insurrection changed with time? Sam chats with Hannah Allam, national security reporter at The Washington Post, and Tom Dreisbach, NPR investigative correspondent, about how the U.S. government has responded to the insurrection — and how we've moved from political polarization into political radicalization.

You can follow us on Twitter @NPRItsBeenAMin and email us at samsanders@npr.org.

Revisiting the January 6 insurrection, one year later

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AUNT BETTY, BYLINE: Hey, y'all. This is Sam's Aunt Betty. This week, the insurrection at the Capitol - one year later. All right, let's start the show.

SAM SANDERS, HOST:

Hey, y'all. You're listening to IT'S BEEN A MINUTE from NPR. I'm Sam Sanders. And this episode, we're going to talk about January 6, 2021. My panelists on today's show - they can recall that day vividly.

TOM DREISBACH, BYLINE: We would get, you know, flashes of a few images from the Senate floor where people had - the mob had taken over.

SANDERS: That is NPR investigative correspondent Tom Dreisbach.

HANNAH ALLAM: People breaking into windows, looking for any way in.

SANDERS: And that's Washington Post national security reporter Hannah Allam. Hannah's a former NPR reporter, and she was at the Capitol that day for NPR.

ALLAM: People threatening to haul out and string up, you know, lawmakers.

SANDERS: Tom and Hannah have been covering the insurrection and its aftermath for the last year. And one big thing has stood out for both of them.

ALLAM: It was just so much more violent than we were able to see from our little sort of corners of observation that day.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: For the first time in our history, a president had not just lost an election; he tried to prevent a peaceful transfer of power as a violent mob breached the Capitol.

SANDERS: This week in a speech, President Biden called out former President Trump for his role in what happened. But Trump, even now, is downplaying the attack and supporting the insurrectionists. And all across the country, there is still no real nationwide consensus over what actually happened that day, despite all of the reporting around the insurrection and all of the new information that's come to light since.

So this episode, Hannah, Tom and I - we're going to talk about why this violent attack on the U.S. Capitol is still so polarizing and what that day's violence and the lack of consensus means for our politics going forward.

You know, Tom, you and the Investigations team have been tracking the legal fallout for those involved in the insurrection. A year later, writ large, what has happened to them? How many have been charged? How many have gone to jail?

DREISBACH: Yeah. So the FBI calls this their biggest investigation in the history of the bureau. It involves almost every FBI field office in the entire country 'cause that's where people came from who went to the riot. They came from virtually every state in the country.

SANDERS: Wow.

DREISBACH: And so far, they've charged a little over 700 people. The charges I kind of organize into three general buckets. There's people on the low end who are accused of basically going inside the Capitol, breaching the building, but not actually committing violence or breaking windows, doing any property destruction. That's on the lowest end.

And then there's a quarter of all the charges so far are people who are accused of attacking police officers, whether with weapons or with their hands, makeshift weapons - that kind of thing.

And then there's this group of people who are accused of conspiracy, planning in the weeks, months ahead of January 6 to bring this level of chaos and destruction to the Capitol - that they thought about bringing weapons, that they - in the allegations against the Oath Keepers, for example, this far-right militia group, they're accused of planning a quick reaction force that would be able to come to the Capitol at a moment's notice with heavy weapons...

SANDERS: Wow.

DREISBACH: ...And attack. They've pleaded not guilty, so that hasn't been tested in court yet. But those are the kind of main groups of charges.

We've started to get some guilty pleas in those cases. More than 170 people have pleaded guilty so far. Less than half of those have been sentenced yet. And I should note that those are the cases that are mostly on the lower end. The most high-profile cases, the most serious charges have largely not finished their way through the legal process yet.

SANDERS: Yeah. You know, I want to talk to you both about what has changed in the last year in terms of how law enforcement prepares for these kind of events or the potential of things like an insurrection. What I found most interesting from your reporting, Hannah, was that in the runup to January 6, federal officials already knew something was going on, but some were actually afraid to have too strong of a show of force because of some things that Donald Trump had done while he was in office. They were reluctant to use force again after he had months before, you know, used the military to quash a racial justice protest outside of the White House. Can you talk about what law enforcement did or didn't do that day and why, and how, if at all, any of that has changed in the last year?

ALLAM: I think that point is actually one of the big unanswered questions - or that we're still answering - is, you know, for all of the open planning that went into this event - I remember, you know, talking on NPR that morning saying, you know, this feels less like a protest and more like a last stand by Trump supporters because that had been the open rhetoric of groups that were going to the Capitol, people who were going to be there. This planning was out in the open. And yet, the Capitol was left a soft target. And I don't know that we've fully answered why.

There's been theories that - such as, you know, the failure of imagination. These were not - this is not a population that we've traditionally thought of as a domestic terrorist threat. Then you hear - have people saying, well, you know, this was an administration that was known, and it's well documented that they didn't like you to bring up threats from the right and the far right. And there have been whistleblowers from Homeland Security and other agencies saying they were discouraged from shedding light on that kind of threat, from...

SANDERS: Really?

ALLAM: ...You know, naming it, even, in some cases.

SANDERS: Wow.

ALLAM: And then we're also still watching the responses to it. Like you said, what's changed in the year? Certainly, these groups have been more under the microscope. I mean, I talked to several...

SANDERS: Yeah.

ALLAM: ...Guys who were in militia groups, self-styled militia groups. They, every week, have a story about, oh, this new guy showed up. I think he's a fed. Or, you know, we've been deplatformed, and we don't even have, you know, a way of communicating. And so, I mean, you do see that there is an impact. But at the same time, they're just adapting and organizing in different ways now.

DREISBACH: Yeah, I totally agree with Hannah about the questions surrounding why the Capitol was so unguarded that day. I talked actually with one guy who entered the Capitol that day. He's pleaded guilty. He's going to be sentenced later this month. But he himself was shocked that he was able to make it inside. He didn't understand...

SANDERS: Wow.

DREISBACH: ...Why the Capitol felt like it was so unguarded and he could just essentially waltz in. And I did not - he asked me what I thought, and I didn't have a good answer for him for why he was able to do that. So I think there's still a lot of questions about just how law enforcement and, you know, the Congress, which oversees the Capitol Police, failed so miserably to actually protect the Capitol.

SANDERS: Yeah. So, Hannah, you wrote this great piece about how different the law is treating these mostly white insurrectionists compared to the way it treats other people who are labeled as terrorist - particularly Muslims, who have been targeted with terrorism allegations for decades now. How are members of that community responding to the insurrectionists?

ALLAM: Thanks. Yeah. You know, that story came from just watching group chats I was in and Muslim, you know...

SANDERS: Really?

ALLAM: ...Forums. Yeah, because, you know, people were saying, can you believe? Can you see - oh, look. He's got an SSS (ph) screening mark on his boarding pass. Oh, it's the end of the world. You know, wait a minute. That's our - you know, Muslims are saying...

SANDERS: Yeah.

ALLAM: ...That's been our reality post-9/11, and we weren't accused of storming the Capitol in a violent manner, you know? And, you know, so they have seen - they've pointed out these disparities. You know, the Capitol rioters will get less time in prison than Muslim defendants who were in material support cases. Those are support - you know, supporting terrorist groups in various ways. And oftentimes, there was no actual violence involved. It was, you know, looking - buying plane tickets, sending money, or - you know, to help fighters overseas. Things like that where there weren't accused of, you know, killing someone, for example. In many cases, they didn't even travel over to the battlefield.

So, you know, it's hard for people who saw those cases and saw people locked away for, you know, 20, 30 or more years now watching people who were caught on video, who, indeed, bragged about what they did, who took selfies - you know, just kind of knowing that they're not going to get that same time.

SANDERS: Yeah. Where do Americans, writ large, stand on all of this one year later? From the start, it seemed that there would never be a real national consensus on what happened that day and why and who was wrong and who was right. But have those divisions over the insurrection and all that it symbolizes - have they grown larger or smaller in the past year?

ALLAM: To me, I mean, just from reporting on this, kind of following that - those sentiments and those forces that drove people to the Capitol, trying to see where did that energy go, who's harnessing it now, it's led to sort of grassroots-level embracing of this. I think if there's any story, you know, any - if there's one narrative to have come from this, it's actually the - how mainstream these beliefs were that propelled people to go to the Capitol. And a year later, we can't even agree on what to call it. Is it an insurrection? Is it a siege? Is it a storming of the Capitol? Is it, as some, you know, Trump supporters have said, a tour?

SANDERS: Wow.

ALLAM: There are, you know, moderate Republicans who are concerned about, you know, the direction this is going. On the right, though, I kind of see three sort of camps. I mean, there's the deniers who are sort of, oh, it was - the whole thing was exaggerated. You know, there's the what-about people. You ask them about, what did you think about the scenes at the Capitol at that day, and they say, well, the same thing I thought about when I saw antifa and BLM, you know, burning down American cities. You know, they'll immediately go into the what-about-ism (ph). And then I sort - I guess sort of most disturbingly, you see this section of people who believe this was a legitimate protest and that it was the anger of, quote-unquote, "patriots" rising up against what they thought was a - believed was a stolen election and a whole host of other sort of conspiratorial ideas that go along with that.

That last bit - that used to be kind of the domain of fringe groups, of the militia groups, of the anti-government movement, of some of those types of figures. And now that's what we hear every night on Fox News. That's what we hear, indeed, from, you know, members of Congress and certainly from just sort of rank-and-file Americans, conservatives who have swallowed these beliefs and promote them in their own ways on the local level.

SANDERS: Yeah.

DREISBACH: Yeah. I mean, I would say it's been a really disorienting reporting experience in a way because immediately after January 6, there was kind of a broad consensus that this was a terrible day, the violence was awful and that everyone involved in the violence or the attack should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. I mean, Donald Trump himself said that, I think, the day after.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

DONALD TRUMP: The demonstrators who infiltrated the Capitol have defiled the seat of American democracy. To those who engaged in the acts of violence and destruction, you do not represent our country. And to those who broke the law, you will pay.

DREISBACH: And when he was impeached, his attorneys said exactly that - that all the people who rioted that day, you know, deserve to be punished. And then over the course of months and really by the summer of 2021, the narrative had completely shifted. Donald Trump was referring to Ashli Babbitt, the woman who was shot by police, as a martyr. He recorded a birthday video for her.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

TRUMP: Today would have been her birthday. Happy birthday, Ashli. Happy birthday. We're looking at you, and you're looking down on your family and on us.

DREISBACH: He is referring to the other people that day who stormed the Capitol as patriots. He says the real insurrection was on November 3, 2020, the Election Day when Joe Biden won. And so maybe I was naive, but I thought there was sort of a consensus. And we have completely lost that.

I think Hannah is right about these three strains of this counternarrative that you hear that has gone increasingly mainstream. And I've talked with people who were there that day who have themselves started to believe conspiracy theories about things that they saw with their own eyes. So it's been a really disorienting experience, and I don't think that there's any consensus nationwide about this event. You know, maybe the broad middle sees it for what it was. It was an extremely violent attack that attempted to overturn the election. But a lot of people on the far right do not believe that, including, you know, the leader of the Republican Party, effectively, Donald Trump.

SANDERS: Yeah. So then last question for you both - if the country is still polarized on what actually happened that day, if there's no real evidence yet that law enforcement has really changed and regrouped to do better should this happen again, and if we see more and more Americans becoming radicalized to try this again potentially, should we be prepared to see more insurrection-type behavior in the future?

ALLAM: I think researchers, extremism trackers have been warning now pretty steadily about the risk of political violence. We've seen polls coming out showing a growing number of Americans who are receptive to using force, to using political violence to meet their political goals. We've seen, of course, a spread of disinformation. We hear things like, you know, only a fraction of Republicans will accept the 2024 election results. And those are all indicators that are disturbing to people who track national security threats. And, you know, one lesson is not seeing it as a political horse race - who's up, who's down, who is this good for, which party - and really looking at it squarely as a national security threat.

SANDERS: Yeah. What I hear you both saying is, America, buckle up. But seriously, thank you both for covering this stuff so that we can know more about it. It is not a fun beat at all.

ALLAM: Thanks, Sam.

DREISBACH: Thank you, Sam.

SANDERS: Listeners, come back to this podcast feed on Tuesday. For that episode on that day, I'll be talking with two journalists from The Atlantic all about where the GOP itself stands one year after the insurrection. Spoiler alert - it is still very much Trump's party.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SANDERS: I'm going to ask you both to take off your capital J Journalism, serious reporter hats and get loose and have some fun as we play my favorite game. It's called Who Said That.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ATLANTA")

KANDI BURRUSS: Who had been saying that?

PORSHA WILLIAMS: Who said that?

KENYA MOORE: Who said that?

SANDERS: We're going to pump up the fun...

DREISBACH: (Laughter).

SANDERS: ...After that first segment.

(LAUGHTER)

ALLAM: Palate cleanser.

SANDERS: That's right, a little palate cleanser. The game is quite simple. I share three quotes from the week of news, and you got to tell me who said it. There are no buzzers. Just yell out who said it, and you'll get a point. I'm really bad at keeping score, but it doesn't matter because the winner gets nothing but bragging rights. All right, shall we?

ALLAM: Let's do it.

DREISBACH: Yes, absolutely. Let's do it.

SANDERS: All right. Here's the first quote. "I am an artist, not a COVID variant." Who said that?

ALLAM: Omarion?

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

DREISBACH: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Did y'all see this?

DREISBACH: I just saw him...

ALLAM: I didn't see...

DREISBACH: Yeah, it was - he was joking that it - like, the last time this happened was Y2K 'cause he was in B2K (laughter).

SANDERS: Yes, yes.

ALLAM: Oh, my God. He's gotten it twice?

DREISBACH: He's gotten this twice.

SANDERS: He got it twice.

DREISBACH: Twenty years apart.

SANDERS: So this quote comes from R&B singer Omarion. His name is spelled O-M-A-R-I-O-N. And as soon as the omicron COVID variant became ascendant, people began calling it, jokingly, the Omarion variant. And finally, the artist himself, Omarion, has spoken about it. In a series of TikToks a few days ago, he said, one...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OMARION: I am an artist, not a variant. So please be aware, if you just so happen to run into me on the street, you don't have to isolate for five days.

DREISBACH: OK, so he has a sense of humor about it.

SANDERS: He has a sense of humor, yes.

ALLAM: That's good.

SANDERS: He also said, while it's important not to touch me and keep your distance 'cause you know that's how it's supposed to be...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

OMARION: You don't need a negative test to dance to my music, all right? So...

SANDERS: ...You don't need a negative test to dance to my music. He's a good sport about it.

ALLAM: There you go.

DREISBACH: Got to get those Spotify streams back up (laughter).

SANDERS: Well, honestly - so that last quote, he actually referenced two of his hits.

DREISBACH: (Laughter).

SANDERS: One is called "Touch." The other is called "How It's Supposed To Be" (ph). So he knows what he's doing here.

ALLAM: Oh, that's - yeah. They should adopt those for CDC guidelines 'cause they're clear, to the point.

SANDERS: Honestly...

ALLAM: Don't touch.

SANDERS: ...If Omarion was telling folks to get the booster shot, they might do it. They might...

ALLAM: Right.

SANDERS: ...Do it. Do either of you have a favorite Omarion or B2K song?

ALLAM: Now, Sam, I was just about to say, can you remind me of...

(LAUGHTER)

ALLAM: ...What they are?

DREISBACH: What was the song? Wasn't it like, "Bump, Bump, Bump"? Wasn't that one of the big songs...

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

DREISBACH: ...For them?

SANDERS: I was going to say that one.

ALLAM: Oh, OK.

SANDERS: So that was a No. 1 hit for B2K way back in the day, a little song called "Bump, Bump, Bump." As the kids say, it still slaps.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BUMP, BUMP, BUMP")

B2K: (Singing) Baby, turn around and let me see that sexy body go bump, bump, bump. The way you're throwing that thing...

SANDERS: Who got that point?

DREISBACH: Hannah.

SANDERS: Hannah, I think you got it.

ALLAM: Hey.

SANDERS: Hannah got it.

ALLAM: I'll take it.

SANDERS: Congratulations. All right.

ALLAM: Thank you.

SANDERS: All right. Next quote - for this one, tell me what we're talking about. The quote is "an icon is laid to rest."

DREISBACH: Betty White.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

SANDERS: Not Betty White, although bless her.

ALLAM: Josephine Baker.

(SOUNDBITE OF BUZZER)

SANDERS: We miss you, Betty. We love you.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: No. This was a device that was at one point...

DREISBACH: Oh, BlackBerry.

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

ALLAM: Oh, BlackBerry, yeah.

SANDERS: Yes, yes. Tom gets that point. BlackBerry was officially kind of laid to rest today. Did y'all see that news?

ALLAM: I did, yeah.

DREISBACH: I never had a BlackBerry, so I never, like, was totally, you know, part of that cultural moment.

ALLAM: Me neither.

SANDERS: I wanted a BlackBerry but was too broke.

(LAUGHTER)

DREISBACH: That tiny keyboard - I don't know how anyone used that on, like, a regular basis.

SANDERS: Oh, I would give anything to have an actual keyboard again and not, like, a glass screen.

ALLAM: Yeah. I was living overseas at the time and kind of - you know, the BlackBerry came out, and it was sort of something that you would see from abroad in, like, American pop culture. And I was like they're all just, like, staring at their phones and typing on these tiny, little keyboards. But no, I never had one.

SANDERS: Yeah. So the BlackBerry was known for years as the CrackBerry because it was so addictive. It was one of the most popular cellphones of the 2000s before, of course, Apple released the iPhone in 2007. And the BlackBerry was known for that keyboard where you could touch the actual keys to type stuff. At one point, according to CNN, BlackBerry had more than 80 million active users. Obama had one.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARACK OBAMA: I had to fight really hard just to keep my BlackBerry.

SANDERS: Kim Kardashian had one.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KIM KARDASHIAN: A BlackBerry - it's my heart and soul. Like, I love it. I'll never get rid of it.

SANDERS: They were cool. And I recall people loved them because the messages on BlackBerrys, the BBMs, they were, like, super encrypted.

DREISBACH: Oh. Oh, maybe we should bring that back. I don't know.

SANDERS: Listen (laughter). Who got that point - Tom?

DREISBACH: I think...

ALLAM: Tom.

DREISBACH: ...I got that one, yeah.

SANDERS: All right. This last quote is hilarious, but I'm not sure either of you will get it.

DREISBACH: (Laughter).

SANDERS: This one comes from a very popular reality TV show. The quote is "I hate him."

ALLAM: Oh, that's "Bachelor."

(SOUNDBITE OF VICTORY TUNE)

ALLAM: "The Bachelor."

SANDERS: Yes, yes. Hannah, tell me where this comes from...

DREISBACH: What?

SANDERS: ...And what happened this week with that quote.

ALLAM: I've heard tell that this is a popular reality...

(LAUGHTER)

DREISBACH: Never even watched it myself.

ALLAM: No, no. But friends tell me - no. Yes, I watch that - every last minute of the (laughter) latest one. That comes from a contestant on "The Bachelor" who did not have chemistry with the bachelor and went on to tell everyone in the house about...

DREISBACH: Wow.

ALLAM: ...How she didn't want to be with America's sweetheart anyway. And she could eat him up and spit him out, I think, was the quote.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Yeah. So...

ALLAM: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...This week was the season premiere of Season 26...

DREISBACH: Oh, my God.

SANDERS: ...Of the reality show "The Bachelor." This year's bachelor is Clayton Echard. He's a 28-year-old NFL-hopeful-turned-sales-rep, according to The Cut. And you know how when they launch the show each season, all of the contestants vying for his love, they do, like, a speed round where they come and meet him and say hi and get first impressions? One of the contestants, Claire, a 28-year-old spray tanner from Virginia, said the following things about the bachelor in just the first episode of the season. Here are the quotes that she said. One...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BACHELOR")

CLAIRE HEILIG: I would eat him and spit him out.

SANDERS: Two...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BACHELOR")

HEILIG: I can't be with, like, [expletive] America's sweetheart.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Wait, what?

SANDERS: Then she said...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BACHELOR")

HEILIG: I'm too, like, fiery. Like, I don't need, like, a, hi, I love America, and I am its sweetheart.

SANDERS: And then finally, she said...

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE BACHELOR")

HEILIG: I hate him. I don't know.

SANDERS: Wow.

ALLAM: Sam, I love that you were - you thought - think so highly of me that you thought we wouldn't know that, you know...

(LAUGHTER)

ALLAM: ...When I'm, like, verbatim quoting.

DREISBACH: Clayton Echard, an NFL hopeful, is like a "Bachelor" contestant created in a lab. Like, you could've...

SANDERS: Oh, yeah.

DREISBACH: The writers...

SANDERS: Yeah.

DREISBACH: ...Are really on point on that one.

SANDERS: I just love that, like, she didn't even try to fake it. You know, so much of these...

DREISBACH: Oh, totally.

SANDERS: ...Romance shows and, like, reality shows about finding love - you know all of them are kind of just lying. She didn't lie. And honestly, kudos to her.

DREISBACH: Did she get kicked off, or did she stay?

ALLAM: Oh, yeah, she did.

DREISBACH: OK.

ALLAM: But my favorite part was after they had their little disastrous, you know, meeting, she just kind of shrugs and reaches for a chicken wing and takes a big bite.

DREISBACH: Nice.

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: Hannah, you've watched this whole show.

(LAUGHTER)

ALLAM: Oh. I mean, I think I read that somewhere.

SANDERS: No shame. Listen. No shame. As someone who watched 12 seasons of "Grey's Anatomy" in just a few months last year, there's no shame about anyone's TV choices. Watch what you watch. It's a tough world.

ALLAM: That's right. Hey, I track extremists all day. I can watch "The Bachelor" (laughter).

DREISBACH: Yeah.

SANDERS: You got to have a break. Yeah. You've got to have a break (laughter).

DREISBACH: And now that...

SANDERS: I'm going to let...

DREISBACH: ..."Real Housewives Of Salt Lake City" has, like, actual indictments, you know, that's - you know...

SANDERS: Listen.

DREISBACH: My beats are colliding. My beat and my (laughter)...

ALLAM: Can we have nothing?

SANDERS: Insurrection? Have you watched the "Housewives"? What?

(LAUGHTER)

SANDERS: On that note, I'm going to ask my team to let me know who officially is the winner of this game. And Jinae says Hannah won.

DREISBACH: That's right.

SANDERS: Congratulations.

ALLAM: Yay. Thank you.

SANDERS: Congratulations. Congratulations.

DREISBACH: Good work.

ALLAM: I'm going to go play some Omarion...

SANDERS: Speech, speech, speech.

ALLAM: ...To celebrate.

SANDERS: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

ALLAM: Bump, bump, bump.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BUMP, BUMP, BUMP")

B2K: (Singing) Bump, bump, bump.

SANDERS: Yes, yes, yes. Thank you both for being here, for playing a most fun edition of Who Said That. That's Hannah Allam and Tom Dreisbach. They both cover domestic extremism - Hannah for The Washington Post, Tom for NPR. Truly, thank you both for your very hard work on a very tough beat. I appreciate you both.

DREISBACH: Thanks, Sam.

ALLAM: Thank you, Sam.

SANDERS: Coming up, we hear from you, dear listeners. You share with me the best things that have happened to you all week.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

AUNT BETTY: Now it's time to end the show as we always do. Every week, listeners share the best thing that happened to them all week. We encourage folks to brag, and they do. Let's hear a few of those submissions.

JAMANY: Hi, Sam. This is Jamany (ph) from Seattle, Wash. The best thing that happened to me all week is actually something that happened on December 30. I had a long-awaited hip replacement surgery. So I'm looking forward to my pain-free, hippy new year of 2022.

ZACHARY: Hello, Sam. It is Zachary (ph) from Maryland. The best thing happened to me this week is that I was offered and accepted my first full-time job since finishing grad school in May 2019. Since January 2019, I have submitted 645 applications, had 82 screening calls or first-round interviews and received four offers, all of which I accepted, but they were for part-time or temporary jobs or conditional offers based on the awarding of a contract. It has been hard on my family and friends to watch me struggle like this, and they will be relieved when they find out.

LAURIE: Hi, Sam. This is Laurie (ph) in Mountain View, Calif. And the best thing that happened to me this week was the removal of all the hardware in my mouth and bands that was keeping my jaw immobile and my mouth shut for 5 1/2 weeks. Prior to that, I had a freak fall and a fracture, and that was the treatment plan. But now it is over, and I can talk normally and can blow out a candle and brush all my teeth and eat solid food. So it is a good week.

RUTH COLEMAN: Hi, Sam. It's Ruth Coleman (ph). I just got married on the 21st. I just got a promotion on the 22nd. And therefore, it is my best week ever. I can't wait to see what 2022 has on hold for me, and I love your show. And you are just so fun to listen to. Thank you so much. Happy new year.

JAMANY: Thanks for everything you do, Sam.

LAURIE: Bye.

ZACHARY: Thank you, and goodbye.

SANDERS: Thanks again to all those listeners you heard there - Ruth, Laurie, Zachary and Jamany.

I got to say the best part of my week starts with kind of a bad part of the last few weeks. It seems like a lot of my friends are getting COVID. On the West Coast, on the East Coast, they're getting it. But you know what? The best part is none of them are being hospitalized, and they all have pretty mild symptoms because of the vaccine. So that, again, is the best part of my week and, honestly, of last year. The vaccine, the COVID vaccine - I am still very grateful for it.

Listeners, don't forget. You can share the best part of your week at any time throughout any week. We still love to hear from you. Just record the sound of your voice onto your phone and send that voice memo to us via email, samsanders@npr.org - at samsanders@npr.org.

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SANDERS: All right, this week's episode of IT'S BEEN A MINUTE was produced by Jinae West, Anjuli Sastry Krbechek, Andrea Gutierrez and Liam McBain. Our intern is Nathan Pugh, and I got to pause right here and say, Nathan, thank you for everything. It has been such a joy having you around these last few weeks and months. You are a master of all things Who Said That, and you send a mean Secret Santa gift. You really do. We appreciate you and wish you the best, wherever you end up, man. All right, our fearless editor is Jordana Hochman. And our big boss is NPR's senior VP of programming, Anya Grundmann.

All right, listeners, till next time, be good to yourselves. I'm Sam Sanders. We'll talk soon.

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