JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One year has ticked by since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, triggering lockdowns across the country as public health officials raced to get ahead of the deadly disease caused by novel coronavirus.
And there’s perhaps no better evidence of how much our lives have changed over the past year than the last photos we took on our camera phones before the March 11 declaration was issued.
YOUR PHOTOS: Here are some of your last memories before our lives changed | SHARE: Submit your photos
Whether we’re talking about a weekend trip to Orlando to visit Disney World, a night out at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena for an Icemen game, a crowded concert at TPC Sawgrass or just your typical trivia night at the bar, these images offer a snapshot into our lives before the pandemic hit.
They also provide glimpses of things we now take for granted, such as not having to wear face masks in public or spending as much time as we wanted with our friends and loved ones — without running through a series of COVID-19 tests first or washing our hands every few minutes to avoid infection.
For Jacksonville resident Dionne Morrison, it was the birth of a new granddaughter, Promise. The last photo on her phone before the pandemic declaration was taken at 4:32 p.m. March 10. “It kind of put me in the mind of a movie. I am so phobic, I am like sanitizing, I am washing, doing the birthday song,” she said.
Meanwhile, for Jeremy Blanton, the last image on his phone was from March 11. On Thursday, he and his friends met up at Memorial Park in Riverside to socialize while sitting safely socially distanced from one another. Under normal circumstances, he acknowledged, they might have gone to a restaurant instead.
“We are here having a beer at Tubala Rasa Brewing Company,” Blanton said of his last pre-pandemic image.
For me, March 11 started with a morning walk at 9:22 a.m. Later on, I went for an afternoon swim with my good friend who’s a trauma surgeon on the front lines. Then I ended the day with an evening walk with some good company and conversation. And then life as we knew it changed forever.
🗓 3.11.20— Zachery Lashway (@ZachLashway) March 11, 2021
📸 9:22 AM - A morning walk.
📸 4:03 PM - An afternoon swim with my friend. (She’s a trauma surgeon on the frontlines.)
📸 8:35 PM - An evening walk. I remember the warm air, company and conversation.
Life as we knew it, changed forever.#TheLastPhoto @wjxt4 pic.twitter.com/M3B7TOOsOi
To show you just how different things are now, we asked News4Jax employees to dig deep into their camera rolls to find the last photograph they took before the WHO’s declaration. We also want you to share your photos with us by uploading them to SnapJax (click here).
We’ve already collected dozens of submissions, but it’s not too late to add yours. Below you’ll find some of the memories our employees and viewers shared with us:
For photojournalist Ciara Earrey, her last memory was from March 10, 2020, the day she voted early.
Sports Editor Justin Barney was very much in his element at TPC Sawgrass, where he covered The Players Championship.
Producer Sasha Saliba was soaking up a Zac Brown Band concert in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Feb. 29, 2020.
Assignment Manager Frank Powers remembers Feb. 29, 2020, vividly. He was showing his grandson, Barrett, the finer points of Matchbox cars, the same toys Frank’s son played with when he was growing up.
Bob Ellis, the vice president and general manager of WJXT/WCWJ, said his last photo before the pandemic hit was from a vacation at the beach with his family.
Senior Multi-Platform Producer Pauline Villanueva and her husband were eagerly awaiting the arrival of their child.
Managing Editor Hetal Gandhi was 38 weeks pregnant as she walked into the maternity ward at Baptist South, where they were still not recommending masks for the general public but had begun doing temperature checks for the first time.
Photojournalist Riley Storey and a friend were taking a short road trip to Orlando to visit, where else, Disney World.
Photojournalist Matt Kinzig and his wife were enjoying each other’s company.
For Jennifer Waugh, it was a typical day on the set of The Morning Show with co-anchors Bruce Hamilton and Melanie Lawson.
Reporter Joe McLean was at the Power & Light District in Kansas City, Missouri, March 8, 2020. He wasn’t even a member of the News4Jax family yet.
Account Executive Abigail Williams got to meet all-around great guy and Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew, jorts and all.
Anchors Scott Johnson and Jenese Harris were right behind the desk in studio, bringing you the weekend news.
Executive Producer Shawn Seagroves and his son were showing off their Icemen pride at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena.
“Me with my little cousin during a mutual visit to Orlando,” Ashley Harding recalled. “She lives in Miami and hasn’t left South Florida since she returned home after this visit. Miss her terribly 😢.”
Meteorologist Danielle Uliano remembers having a blast at The Players with some familiar faces — Vic Micolucci, Brittany Muller, Allyson Henning, Maggie Lorenz, Jennifer Ready — and photojournalist Chris O’Rourke.
Tarik Minor, Melanie Lawson, Kelly Wiley and Kent Justice were enjoying each other’s company at the inaugural Jacksonville Image Awards, which was held in person last year.
Skylar and Colbie Horschel, and their mother Brittany, were watching their dad, Billy Horschel, on No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass.
Like thousands of you, Social Media Producer Carianne Luter was about to take off on the Gate River Run on March 7. “Only a few days after this, everything would come to a complete stop,” Carianne remembered.
Account Executive Melanie Fisher and her son remember sitting down to eat with friends at Chick-Fil-A.
Multi-Platform Producer Mara Mazar was enjoying a cruise trip.
Deidra Crane was in good spirits! She and some of her coworkers were taking part in trivia night at Mellow Mushroom, and Deidra will have you know that she took first place that night.
Francine Frazier was picking up her niece, Cailey, from school. She said it was the last picture she took on her phone before we all started wearing masks in public.
Reporter Marilyn Parker remembers she was on her first on-air assignment as a member of the News4Jax team.
Reporters Lena Pringle, Kelly Wiley and Producer Evanne Robinson were enjoying each other’s company and celebrating our community at the inaugural Jacksonville Image Awards.
Executive Producer Karina Kubasak was in the middle of a vacation to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Reporter Brittany Muller and Meteorologist Danielle Uliano were thrilled to watch the Chainsmokers concert at TPC Sawgrass.
Share your memories
What’s your last memory before March 11, 2020? We want to hear how your life has changed in the past year. So if you don’t have a photo on your camera roll, you can share your stories by filling out the form below.