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1,201 people just broke a world record. For love.

'Renewing our commitment with our three children by our side and thousands of other married couples made a powerful statement for love.'

1,201 people just broke a world record. For love.

Three cheers for love! On Oct. 8, 2016, 1,201 couples  in Kalamazoo, Michigan, all renewed their wedding vows, setting the Guinness World Record for most vow renewals at one time.

Photo via The Associated Press.

The glorious, joy-filled event took place outside Western Michigan University's Heritage Hall and was officiated by Kalamazoo's mayor, Bobby Hopewell.

Mayor Bobby Hopewell. Photo via The Associated Press.


A number of WMU alumni were in attendance, many of whom had been together since they were students.

The WMU Broncos were playing against Northern Illinois at Waldo Stadium that evening, so a lot of alums were already on campus for the game.

Brian Burch and his wife, Angela, were one such couple, also there to renew their vows.

"For Angela and I, the site, the school and the people all shaped our relationship," wrote Burch over direct message on Twitter. "So renewing our vows in the same city where met, were engaged, and got married just made sense. Renewing our commitment with our three children by our side and thousands of other married couples made a powerful statement for love."

The record-breaking event wasn't open to just alumni.

Brian Misner and his wife of 20 years came down with their friends who were alumni and made a day of tailgating, vow renewals, and game time.

"After 20 years, I think my bride was reminded of our actual wedding day," Misner said over Twitter direct message. "[...] We agreed, the weekend as a whole was really great. Perfect memories made."

Guinness World Record official Jimmy Coggings was also in attendance to review marriage certificates and count couples.

At the end of the event, he made it official, declaring WMU the new World Record holder for most vows renewed at one time in one place.

Photo via The Associated Press.

The day ended with renewed-marriage bliss and World Record glory being commemorated with champagne and wedding cake.

Photo via The Associated Press.

And lots of obligatory vow renewal selfies.

Even alumni couples who'd been married 65 years and who had graduated over 60 years ago were having a ball.

Ed and Betty Hartman graduated WMU in 1949 and 1951 respectively. Photo via The Associated Press.

Breaking this kind of love-affirming record is a beautiful thing, especially when you consider that a Census survey shows divorce rates are actually dropping despite the common misconception that half of marriages end in divorce.

Image via iStock.

There are several reasons behind this shift, including that we've become more accepting of "modern families" and more couples are waiting longer to wed.

These 1,201 couples who renewed their vows in Kalamazoo are a testament to love going the distance.

While this record-breaking act of love might not solve any of society's systemic problems, it's certainly a big dose of hope for the future.

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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The rafters listened with bewilderment as they were told about toilet paper shortages and the NBA season being canceled and everyone being asked to stay at home. One of the river guides, who had done these kinds of off-grid excursions multiple times, said that they'd often joke about coming back to a completely different world—it had just never actually happened before.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
True

The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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