People in the United States and around the world are bidding farewell to 2015 and preparing to ring in the new year with parties, fireworks and other festivities. Many are using the opportunity of a new year to make resolutions they hope to keep, such as adopting a healthier lifestyle and spending more time with family.
In Washington, some local residents and visitors to the National Mall recently voiced similar aspirations as they looked to the future. Some of those interviewed, however, also expressed a longing for a kinder, gentler world.
Eight-year-old Nicholas Kostenbauder, visiting with his family from Allentown, Pennsylvania, said he hoped "that the world becomes a better place ... and my family becomes better, too.”
Juliana Grayson, who had just enjoyed a visit to the U.S. Botanic Garden near the Capitol with her family, said it was important for her to teach her children to be kind.
"It just seems like everyone is so angry all the time," she said, "and we need to find peace again within ourselves and with the people we relate to every day.”
Tamim Amin, who is originally from Afghanistan but now lives in the United States, said he was hoping for peace, including for his country of origin.
"My parents are back home in Afghanistan. I wish I can bring them here,” said the soft-spoken father of three.
Karmjot Singh said his goal was to become healthier. He said he hoped to "lose a little bit of weight, gain some more muscle and become a better person.”
John Escario of Damascus, Maryland, said he wanted to spend more time with his family. Steve Yanagisawa, visiting from Austin, Texas, said he wanted to "travel more, and work less" in 2016.
Under a cloudy sky in the U.S. capital, random strangers, young and old, Christian, Muslim and Sikh, spoke of their hopes for better bonds with their loved ones — and peace.
It was a poignant reminder that while we may have our differences, we have far more in common with each other than we perhaps realize.