This year, our family’s table will have fewer people gathered around it than we’re used to. It’s tempting to see that as another sign of the times, but I choose to see it as a reminder of the inspiring efforts made by the everyday people of Connecticut to make this meal possible for us all. Words cannot express how grateful I am to live in a state where its residents look after one another, respect one another, and offer help when someone is in need. For that I thank you.
At this time of year it’s traditional to take time to reflect on what’s most important in our lives and express gratitude. Like so many things during this past year, it’s hard to find comfort in this familiar custom when there are reminders of the strangeness of the times all around us.
There’s no way to put on a cheerful face and pretend that everything is whole when we’ve lost so much. The virus has cost the lives of over 250,000 Americans, the jobs and livelihoods of countless more, and robbed us all of our everyday reality.
And yet there’s hope and plenty to be grateful for.
The adversity of this moment has reminded us how inspiring and courageous our fellow citizens are who have made sacrifices on our behalf. Connecticut’s doctors, nurses, and other public health workers have worked tirelessly through unthinkably long hours while putting their own safety at risk. Medical professionals have come out of retirement to provide assistance to hospitals and nursing homes, where the help is sorely needed. Our state has seen an outpouring of support from nonprofit partners who’ve stepped up to the plate to provide aid and services to those suffering. Connecticut’s teachers, some of the best in the country, have risen to the challenge of educating our children – a challenge in the best of times, as many of us found out first hand – while adapting to a remote environment.
All that is to say nothing of the ordinary Connecticut folks who have volunteered their time. People have come forward from all corners to man testing sites, deliver food to those in quarantine, and facilitate voting to ensure our democracy continues to thrive. Many have cared for their neighbors who are most at risk by delivering supplies to spare them from danger.
We have a lot to be thankful for.
At this moment, we also have hope in the form of a number of promising vaccines on the horizon. With this hope, despite the fatigue we all feel at having been deprived of even the most basic human interaction, it’s more important than ever that we honor the efforts and sacrifice of our fellow Connecticut residents by staying vigilant. It’s not easy, but the more we express our collective thanks by keeping each other safe when there are treatments so close at hand, the sooner we can get back to the life that we so dearly miss.
In the meantime, despite the impact COVID has had on volunteerism, there are still countless ways to step up and give back throughout this holiday season and beyond. Connecticut charities need your help more than ever – so consider donating time safely or supporting them however you can. We’re still one big family and in this together.
From my family to yours, I wish each of you a warm and happy Thanksgiving.
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