My Side of the Fencepost — Stressful, but not the worst

By Jim Dickerson
Many people would rank 2020 as one of the most stressful years ever, and they’d be right. The COVID-19 pandemic did make it stressful, but 2020 was certainly not the most stressful in our history.
A company called “Bloom” which provides online behavioral therapy, consulted with historians in an effort to make a list of the top eight most stressful years in U.S. history.
As it turns out, historians picked 1862 as the most stressful year in our nation’s history.
That was “the darkest year of the Civil War.” It was clear that a high price had been paid, but the North and South might still break apart permanently.
Two years tied as the second most stressful year. One was 1929, the year of the stock market crash and the start of the Great Depression, which lasted through much of the 1930s. The other was 1838, when the young United States government began pushing thousands of Native Americans out of their native lands and onto reservations.
Fourth most stressful year for the U.S. was 1919, when Spanish Flu killed 675,000 Americans. There were also race riots, labor strikes and the start of Prohibition — all with the U.S. still reeling from the trauma of World War I.  
Ranked as fifth by the historians was 1968, the year of riots, protests, violence, and the assassinations of both Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. 
Ranking sixth was 1962, the year of the Cuban Missile Crisis when the Cold War almost turned “hot.” 
Seventh most stressful, according to historians, was 2001, when America was shaken by the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. mainland.  
Finally, ranked in eighth place, is 2020, when America recorded more COVID-19 deaths than any country, unemployment soared and political and racial tensions worsened.
At my age, I’ve lived through four of what this group of historians consider the top eight most stressful years. I believe we’ve been fortunate to survive all of them. Only the grace of God has kept our nation intact through the years.