Despite a relentless pandemic and economic uncertainty, we have much for which to be thankful today.
As the United States celebrates Thanksgiving, with many of us separated from loved ones, we recall the words penned by President Abraham Lincoln in proclaiming a national day of thanksgiving in 1863:
“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”
That was the start of a national observance of our many blessings, a holiday that is particularly poignant this year.
The coronavirus pandemic has made for a most unusual 2020, both in the United States and around the world. Social distancing orders and the threat of the virus will prevent many families and friends from partaking in traditional gatherings. For many of us, relatives will remain distant in the hope that next year will bring a return to normalcy and that we all remain healthy through this holiday season.
For those who are gathering, we urge caution. Socially distance as much as possible; wear masks as much as possible. Help ensure that you and your loved ones can enjoy many more Thanksgiving celebrations together.
In the meantime, we offer several items for which we remain thankful amid this year’s despair:
• For health care workers, particularly those on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, health care workers have risked their own health in order to comfort and protect the rest of us. Physical exhaustion and mental stress have been widely reported among workers who have spent eight months fighting the illness, and we are grateful for their dedication.
• For friends and family. The pandemic has affected each of us in its own way. Even those fortunate enough to remain healthy and financially secure have felt the stress created by COVID-19. Social connections, even if made remotely, are essential to helping us through the struggles.
• For teachers. Even while taking care of their own families and watching over their own health, teachers have done their best to educate and care for our children. Be it remotely or, in some cases, with small groups of in-class students, teachers have needed to learn new methods for reaching and engaging with students.
• For abundant beauty. Even during times of personal stress, we are constantly reminded of the wonders of nature that lie just outside our doors. The Northwest, we are convinced, is the most beautiful region on Earth, and we forever are thankful for it.
• For elections. Whether or not the recent voting delivered the outcomes you desired, we all should be thankful for free and fair elections. Despite efforts by some to question the results and undermine public confidence, we are inspired by the fact that more Americans than ever before participated in our democracy.
There are, of course, many more things for which to be thankful, even during a year that has been dreadful for many of us. As Alphonse Karr, a 19th century French writer, is credited with saying: “Some people are always grumbling because roses have thorns; I am thankful that thorns have roses.”
And as we count our blessings, we wish a happy Thanksgiving to all.