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So much still exists for which to give thanks

On this Thanksgiving Day holiday, many of us will gather to count our blessings in groups much smaller than usual.

There will be empty seats at the table, perhaps because we have been encouraged to stay home for the good of all of us, or perhaps because so many of us, sadly, have lost loved ones to this scourge that has lingered for way too long now.

There are very few of us who have not been touched by COVID-19. In Trumbull County, more than 5,160 people have been infected. Sadly, more than 140 people have died, either of or with COVID-19.

In Mahoning County, more than 7,070 people have tested positive and about 300 lives have been lost.

Indeed, it is heartbreaking.

But if we all are to look at this situation with some optimism, certainly, many, many blessings remain that we can count — blessings that may be even more important this year than ever before.

We, of course, are thankful for our families and loved ones, both living and deceased. We are thankful for the love they have shared, for the lessons our role models have taught us and for the memories we’ve shared with them.

We are thankful for our health. We are thankful for those who have been ill with COVID-19, or other illnesses, and who have recovered and returned to good health. We are thankful for doctors, nurses and all medical personnel who work hard to keep us healthy, often at risk of their own demise.

We are thankful for the loving caregivers in long-term care facilities who ensure our family members residing there are being looked after with great skill and compassion, even today when these caregivers themselves are away from their own families.

We also give thanks for scientists and researchers who have been working nonstop in efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines. And we are thankful for those who will help to distribute them.

Of course, we are thankful for all first responders who continue to put themselves on the front lines, never knowing exactly what they will face each time an emergency dispatcher calls their unit numbers.

We are thankful for teachers who persevere and teach our children, whether in the classroom or online.

We give thanks for the technology that allows us to stay in touch with those we love who cannot be with us physically today. Imagine if this pandemic had come 20 or even 10 years ago, when options like Zoom or FaceTime did not yet exist!

We are thankful for the many, many community organizations and volunteers who have helped feed so many of us and our neighbors in this time of need.

We give thanks and we pray for our nation’s service members who keep us safe at home and abroad.

And we give thanks for our freedoms, for this great country in which we live and for the ability to speak out and have a voice, even when we may not agree.

And, of course, we are thankful for our Thanksgiving meals and for the special people in our lives this holiday.

Indeed, we have much to be grateful for. May you find peace, love and health today.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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