CONTRIBUTORS

GUEST EDITORIAL: Much to be grateful for

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial board (TNS)
The squash and sweet potato hash makes a fabulous side dish for Thanksgiving dinner. Or, serve it topped with a fried egg and slices of smoky ham for a weekend brunch. (Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune/TNS)

Thanksgiving will take on a much different look for most families this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fewer people will be traveling home so as to avoid crowded airports and planes. Large family gatherings are discouraged as confirmed cases of COVID-19 climb to record levels daily. There won't be thousands of people gathered on the sidewalks of New York for the traditional Thanksgiving Day parade.

All in all, it has the feel of a depressing holiday celebration.

But rather than focusing on what we won't have this year, we should take the holiday literally and take a moment to give thanks and show gratitude for the simple things in our lives, the things that too often are overlooked but matter greatly.

The lessons learned in 2020 are not all bad. For one, it's taught us to be even more thankful for family and friends, and grateful for their good health and safety. We've learned the importance of staying in touch on a frequent basis and offering reassurance and love to those we can't be with at this time.

And we're fortunate to live in a time when technology can keep us connected, no matter the distance or circumstances. Zoom meetings and FaceTime sessions have become a common occurrence for many families.

We can also be grateful for the way so many have stepped up to help those facing difficult circumstances caused by the pandemic. The sight of dozens of volunteers offering assistance to pack boxes of food and load them into vehicles during those many drive-up distributions showed once again how caring our neighbors — even those we don't know — can be.

Mere words can't express our gratitude for health care workers across the country who, even in the face of the worst pandemic in a century, continue to provide care at great risk to their own health.

And despite the alarming surge in cases, we can take comfort in the dedication of scientists and researchers worldwide who have been working tirelessly on vaccines — which may be available within a few months — against the virus.

Taking a moment to reflect on the good things in our lives, always appropriate during the Thanksgiving season, is especially important this year. It's good for the soul to celebrate the blessings of life and to let others know how important they are to us.

On this Thanksgiving, look past the negative and consider the words of the late John F. Kennedy:

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."