The start of a new year is usually a time for looking forward and setting a new direction--often through personal resolutions that are abandoned almost as quickly as they were embraced. At the beginning of the year 2000, however, The Washington Post was interested in a different sort of contemplation. And so, across the region this weekend, men, women and children, residents and visitors alike, were asked this question:

What do you hope will change, either in your personal life or in this country, during the coming year?

Here are some of their answers.

"What I hope for this year is to get married."

-- Jim Brigl, 48, of Gaithersburg

"To have better schools and to have better cars and to stop the drug dealers, to stop littering and no more violence."

-- Daniel Jones, 12, of Washington

"I'd like more peace and justice. It sounds simple, but [it's] hard to achieve. We're so technologically advanced and yet we seem socially behind."

-- David Steigler, 41, of Silver Spring

"I'd like to see a civil presidential campaign. Less rancor, less personal animosity. . . . I'd like to see presidential politicians treat each other with some more respect."

-- Bob Katzenstein, 48, of Wilmington, Del.

"[To] save more money and pay less taxes."

-- Teri Johnson, 52, of Arlington

"I'd like to see a decline in the hatred of minorities."

-- Jennifer Carter, 28, of Rockville

"I hope to move closer toward emotional and spiritual contentment. . . . This is a crazy world we live in with all the stress and chaos. I want to remember what's important out of life. . . . And I hope everything in the world for my mother because I love her so much."

-- Cathy Crowley, 36, of Washington

"I wish our country would be more ecologically minded. I wish we were more concerned about preserving our resources and keeping our country beautiful."

-- Stewart Braswell, 38, of Charlotte

"I want money and a good life."

-- Mahmood Kahlia, 29, of Alexandria

"I would just like to see good health and continued happiness. That may sound silly, but the rest of the stuff you have to work on."

-- Paula Garner, 49, of Arlington

"Better toys and better video games."

-- Michael Wills, 11, of Bladensburg

"I would like to see health care. If they could have health care in the United States to some degree free or affordable to all people, that would be great."

-- Loretta Wills, 33, of Bladensburg

"I'd like to see it become that a man's power isn't based on his wealth. Our country was founded by poor people who had good ideas. Now so much depends on wealth."

-- Randy Quesenberry, 46, of Leesburg

"I want to get into school because I'm studying English to get a GED so I can get into college. I want to learn the language well."

-- Carolina Lacayo, 22, of Silver Spring

"I hope people embrace this as an opportunity to break down barriers, because there is still so much prejudice."

-- Carl Deithloff, 32, of Takoma Park

"In this country, I'd like see less hate. For ourselves [motioning to a friend], we're going to find some boyfriends."

-- Yan Yu, 36, of McLean

"For this country, I would like to stop all the violence that's going on and help the homeless. . . . For myself, to stay healthy in the year 2000, don't do drugs, and help other people in my community do the things they like to do."

-- Reynard Prather, 11, of Oxon Hill

"I want to see a world of sound financial constitution and more civil liberties."

-- Marcus Miller, 39, of Chevy Chase

"Change? In my personal life, not much. But as far as I'm concerned in the whole world, a lot would be different. We are too modern, too advanced, too much in disagreement. . . . I grew up in Germany in World War II. I just hope it never comes to a war with the United States. I feel safe here."

-- Herta Vess, 68, of Sarasota, Fla.

"I hope that there would be less homelessness and more people would work together."

-- Chepita Jovel, 24, of Fairfax

"I hope people develop more compassion for each other and tolerance, personally and as a country, compassion for people of different cultures and religions."

-- Lester Wilson, 38, of Tysons Corner

"I'd probably encourage people to smile more. Nobody smiles in this city."

-- Rekha Chalasani, 26, of Washington

"I think I would change people's tolerance of each other so that we become a more tolerant society. We've come so far in the last centuries."

-- Sharon Belli, 36, of Alexandria

"Since my family is in different countries, I'd like everybody to be united somehow in the same place."

-- Phoung Lam, 30, of Oakton

"A Super Bowl for the Redskins."

-- Stephen Cheung, 24, of Philadelphia

"I hope for the quote that Martin Luther King gave . . . that my children will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I don't mean just my children, but all children."

-- Michael Strautmanis, 30, of Fairfax

"I served 30 years in the Army and retired a colonel. The one thing I would like to see is peace on the Earth, no more wars. I fought in two of them."

-- Andrew L. Jackson, 55, of Washington

"I hope our sons don't have to go to war."

-- Ruth Lowery, 40, of Charlotte Hall

"I hope for global trade, that the global economy is going to improve. . . . I hope that all the countries will come together and reduce their barriers and come together into one economy."

-- Mohan Manem, 37, of Alexandria

"To put the family, and the concept of marriage, back into the center of American society. . . . To let every child be in a strong and happy family."

-- Colin Powell, 62, of McLean

"I would like to see a change in my family's health and in our family closeness."

-- Desirae Carter, 35, of Grand Blanc, Mich.

"I want the [Washington] Caps to win the [Stanley] Cup. Then I want to own the Caps by the time I'm 40."

-- Leinaala Dicus, 20, of Alexandria

"I want to travel more and meet more people."

-- Cristen Dougherty, 20, of Fairfax

"I'd like the aerospace industry to flourish so I can get a better job in the future."

-- Dan Chung, 20, of Fairfax

"To improve the plight of kids in this city, their education."

-- Bill Watkins, 55, of Bowie

"[To] change the violence, put more police on the streets."

-- Kevin Mandel, 12, of Gaithersburg

"I wish I could add a couple of hours to each day so that I could spend more time with my family."

-- Kerry J. Donley, 43, of Alexandria

"To come back to Christ. The country was founded by the founding fathers on the founding values. What came from that is tolerance and everything. Now political correctness has gotten away from the founding fathers."

-- Scott Stinnetti, 35, of Baltimore

"The first thing that came into my mind is money; $10,000 would do it. That's just for me, though. I'm unemployed."

-- Derek Pennington, 21, of Fairfax Station

"I'd just like to have nations and groups of people come together and not try to ostracize people because of your beliefs or by your belonging to one group or another."

-- Eileen Womack, 57, of District Heights

"I just wish things would slow down a little bit."

-- Delight Yokanovich, 52, of Arnold

"[To] not to take so much for granted. . . . We usually focus so much on the day-to-day existence."

-- Chad Gordon, 29, of Vienna

"I'm hoping for my credit card company's system and my phone company's systems to crash so I'd have zero balance."

-- Camilo Martinez, 19, of Washington

"To become ever more actively involved and striving, to make the concept of the brotherhood of man, under the fatherhood of God, more realistic."

-- Charles Mumford, 70, of Chantilly

"Pass that child care bill. I'm a single parent, and in this area it's real hard to live."

-- Evelyn Sandler, 36, of Montgomery Village

"That we stop seeing people as colors and start seeing them as people."

-- Dave Meyer, 29, of Springfield

"I would like us to continue to be world leaders and to be compassionate world leaders. I would like our country to be maybe a little more involved with the children of the world."

-- Colleen Dabreu, 51, of Mount Laurel, N.J.

"Now that I have a baby, I just hope that schools are going to be safer and education will be better. All focus changes once you have a kid."

-- Beth Levi, 31, of Bethesda

"That the Republicans get back in presidential office and maintain control of the House and the Senate. . . . I'd like to run a 40-minute 10K again."

-- Doug Lee, 37, of Alexandria

"Personally, I hope all of [my college buddies] are as good friends next year as we are this year."

-- Lou Digioia, 24, of Arlington

"Let there be peace. That's all."

-- Satish Grampurohit, 26, of Bangalore, India

Staff writers Amy Argetsinger, Patricia Davis, Maria Glod, Spencer S. Hsu, Susan Levine, Cindy Loose, David Montgomery, Sylvia Moreno, Angela Paik, Philip P. Pan, Lisa Rein, Christina Samuels, Brigid Schulte, Jackie Spinner, Nancy Trejos and Linda Wheeler contributed to this report.