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Being thankful for what we have

Today is Thanksgiving Day.

And while it means many things to many people, we all can agree that it feels different this year. It’s a day that has come to stand for food, family and football. Those traditions are important, but the COVID-19 pandemic we find ourselves in the midst of has brought on many changes.

It’s unlikely we will be celebrating with large family gatherings. There will be football, but the games will be played in empty or nearly empty stadiums. The streets of New York City will be empty this year, as there will be no traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an event that annually is viewed in person by 3.5 million people. Some of us will be preparing a Thanksgiving feast for the first time, while others might choose to pass on some or all of the traditions that go along with the meal altogether.

We hope, though, that everyone will take just a few minutes to remember that there good things in our lives, and make this Thanksgiving one of true thanks.

On the local level, we can be thankful for the communities we live in, where neighbors still know each other and are willing to pitch in when the hard times hit. We must also be thankful for our family and friends, those people who stand beside us in good times and bad.

Be thankful if you are employed, and take a moment to remember those who are without jobs this year.

If you have a warm place to stay and a meal to eat, be thankful for that, and take a moment to remember those who are cold at night and know the pain of hunger.

Be thankful if you or a family member has not had to suffer the ravages of the coronavirus, and pray for those whose lives have been touched. And, be thankful for the health care workers and first responders who are willing to put their own lives on the line for our communities each and every day.

Our country seems to be divided in so many ways these days, along political, religious and social lines. We must continue to be thankful because, despite all of the rhetoric, we are still a nation that chooses its leadership on a set timetable at the ballot box.

Be thankful for our freedoms as Americans, but never take them for granted. Remember that our ability to worship as we choose, disagree with our government and elected officials and decide how we will live our lives is something that many of those who live in the rest of the world can only dream of.

Above all, have a happy Thanksgiving.

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