Abstract: The Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva has performed spectacularly well in its first major running period. The two major detectors have acquired data of unprecedented quality and quantity from proton-proton collisions at energies up to 8 Trillion electron Volts --- the highest energy (and the highest luminosity) man has ever created. We review of the decades-long, worldwide effort to construct and operate the accelerator and one of the two major experiments (CMS); together they represent the largest, most complex research system ever built. We will discuss the scientific goals with emphasis on the very special Higgs boson, whose role in defining the structure and evolution of our universe is profound, and whose unusual properties may have extraordinary implications. We will highlight results announced July 4th, as well as those from a fourfold increase in data released a few weeks ago. We will also take a brief look at preparations and expectations for future results in years to come.