Why must it take a pandemic to remind some of us about all the heroes in our midst, the sacrifices made every day, the interdependence we rely on at all times.
As we settle down to our Thanksgiving meals or sit by the TV watching pigskins fly and a makeshift parade fill in for bigger spectacles, many of us have a new awareness of how much we owe to those who work on such days.
And this year many of those work shifts will be more strenuous than ever before. In hospitals and urgent cares and nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities, doctors and nurses are fighting a battle unlike any they have seen. There will be no skeleton crews working floors nearly empty of patients, dozing and dining on plates brought from home.
Instead they will push harder and harder to do good, and then head home to isolate from loved ones, or carry the fear of infecting them.
We have a new awareness of their burdens, and not just theirs. We have redefined "essential," or finally come to see it clearly.
Truckers will be on the road while we dine, making sure the nation has food and medical supplies. Factory workers will take shifts that never existed before to make sure toilet paper is produced, and wipes and diapers and hand sanitizer and vaccines.
We remembered that butchers were essential this year, and farmers. We saw teachers in a new light as we tried to teach kids ourselves, saw day care workers as heroes we’d left unsung.
The police who keep us safe, they’ll be out. So will the firefighters, always busy on a day when cooking gets crazy.
Volunteers are feeding the poor and spending time with the lonely, and therein lies another lesson. We are all essential, or we could be. Loving, caring, kind and giving, patient and hardworking, devoted.
There is a place for everyone, a role, a way to contribute, and we all owe each other so much. If we could remember that, when the coronavirus pandemic has passed and normality has returned, oh, what a blessing.
— The editorial board