Big national news stories of 2017 Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 KAEPERNICK KNEELS: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became a national figure after he began kneeling during "Star-Spangled Banner" performances at football games in 2016. The move was done in protest to police brutality, and Kaepernick said he would not show pride in a flag for a country that he believes oppresses people of color. Throughout 2017, other athletes joined Kaepernick in kneeling and showed solidarity in various ways. President Donald Trump entered the conversation by saying football players not standing up for the national anthem should be suspended or fired.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 The Dow hit its highest closing record to-date on Dec. 4, 2017 when it closed at 24,290.05. The growth is attributed to the passage of tax reform bills in the house and senate as well as foreign investors buying U.S. stocks at the fastest rate in five years. President Donald Trump has expressed pride in the stock market's soaring numbers and says the U.S. economy is rebounding under his watch. The Dow set 80 new record closing highs since the 2016 presidential election.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 GUN VIOLENCE: 2017 saw a string of violent attacks involving guns and the killing of civilians. In Las Vegas in October 2017, 59 people attending a music festival lost their lives and more than 500 were injured when a gunman began shooting from high up in a hotel room on the strip. In November, 26 people died after a shooter entered Sutherland Springs Baptist Church in Texas and fired at everyone inside. These weren't the only mass shootings, and in both cases, where and how the shooters got their weapons was called into question. The gun rights debate throughout the country continues.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 DRUG OVERDOSE DEATHS: A record number of people have died after overdosing on prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl — so many that President Donald Trump in late October 2017 declared the opioid epidemic a national emergency. Nearly hald of opioid-related deaths involve prescriptions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Six of 10 drug deaths involve opioids. The CDC says an average of 91 people die daily from an opioid overdose.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 STORES SHUTTER: JCPenney, Macy's, Payless, Kmart, Sears, Teavana, Gymboree and more announced some store closures in 2017 as sales at brick-and-mortar stores were down. Online sales, especially those of giants Walmart and Amazon, are soaring. Chain restaurants also saw a string of closures with several location shut downs announced by Joe's Crab Shack, Papa Murphy's Pizza, Bravo, Brio, Applebee's and more. Bob Evan's also had a slew of closures. The restaurant slump is somewhat attributed to the rise of more niche eateries catering to millennials seeking more organic and farm-to-table options.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 FEMALE MOVEMENT: Hundreds of thousands of women descended on Washington D.C. on Jan. 21, 2017, to attend an historic Women's March. The event followed the innauguration ceremony of President Donald Trump. Similar marches took place in cities across the lower 48 states and in Alaska. Many in attendance wore pink "pussyhats" as a way to show solidarity in support of women's rights. Trump had previously been caught on video talking about a woman and using the word "pussy" in a way that many found offensive. The march and the hats were also a protest to Trump's controversial comments about women.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 SEXUAL ASSAULTS: The "Silence Breakers," as they were named by TIME for 2017 Person of the Year, paved the way for more to be comfortable telling their stories of sexual harassment and assault. The women came forward with stories of bosses, co-workers and people who had positions of authority crossing boundaries. They have spurred the #MeToo movement on social media, in which women are telling the world they have been treated wrongly. Men are also sharing their stories of being sexually harassed and assaulted. Several celebrities have been accused, and employers and fans are abandoning them.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 WHITE SUPREMACY: Richard Spencer made headlines several times in 2017 following a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in August 2017 where a woman there protesting the beliefs of the nationalists was killed. The rally and ongoing movement of the "alt-right," a term coined by Spencer, who is considered a leader of white supremacy, is seen by many as a display of bigotry and hatred. Some believe the alt-right are President Donald Trump's supporters and that when he called both sides at the rally violent, he was wrong in condemning those who were there protesting the alt-right.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES Big national news stories of 2017 RECORD-BREAKING DISASTERS: The United States endured several extreme weather incidents in 2017: Four powerful hurricanes — Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate — caused devastation in multiple states and territories. Wildfires plagued California on several occasions, and the first half of the year saw more tornado deaths than the entire previous year. The American Red Cross said it delivered more food and relief items to folks in 2017 than it had the previous four years combined.Photo by: GETTY IMAGES