Put “thanks” first this Thanksgiving


Ms Jones from California, USA, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons

A delicious spread is a usual part of Thanksgiving, but this year the focus should be on giving thanks.

Colin Strauss, Staff Writer

As we prepare for Thanksgiving later this month, many people are wondering about how to celebrate this holiday given the coronavirus pandemic and other challenges our country is currently facing.  Will we still be able to travel to see family and friends?  Will we still have our long standing traditions?  Will this be a worse celebration than in years past?  What is there to be thankful about?  While the pandemic certainly offers obstacles to a traditional celebration, I believe the events of 2020 give us reasons to truly be thankful this year.

Everyone knows the traditional (though oft disputed) story of the first Thanksgiving.  After a difficult ocean crossing the Pilgrims came to the new world in 1620 seeking a place to freely practice their religious beliefs.  They endured a brutal first winter, and after a successful fall harvest in 1621, the Pilgrims celebrated that harvest with local Native Americans.  That story is commonly referred to as the first Thanksgiving.

As the story goes, that first Thanksgiving celebrated a new world, religious freedom, new friends, and a successful harvest.  Nearly 400 years later, we find ourselves at Thanksgiving 2020.  In recent times, Thanksgiving seems more centered on “food and football” with a side dish of “thanks”.  But I believe the events of 2020 give all of us reasons to put “thanks” first this Thanksgiving.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, there have been more than 50 million cases of the virus around the world with over 10 million of those cases in the United States.  Over 1.2 million people have died around the world with over 237,000 of those deaths occurring in our country.  On top of the awful illnesses and deaths, the pandemic has led to economic difficulties and millions of people have lost their jobs; furthermore, millions of students have been displaced from the classroom as schools around the country have had to do their best to adapt to the virus.  Within miles of BSM, George Floyd was killed on May 25 of this year, and our area saw a summer of rioting which carried across the nation.  Finally, the country has been faced with more and more opposing political views as shown in the recent elections.

Like that first year for the Pilgrims, 2020 has been a really, really difficult and challenging year for most Americans.  And like the Pilgrims, we have had to overcome those obstacles.  It is now clear that many drug companies are getting closer to a coronavirus vaccine that should help bring an end to this pandemic.  And while the loss of life is truly heartbreaking, it appears the medical profession has made gains in treatment options.  Also, businesses and schools have been successful in returning to some level of “normal”.  Sports games have returned, restaurants have learned how to serve outdoors, and schools, like BSM, have been successful with a hybrid in-class/remote model.  Finally, our country just concluded a successful election, which allows all of us to think hopefully about the future of America.

Because of all of these things, I think that during this Thanksgiving we should all give thanks for what is truly important––our family, our friends, and our ability to adapt to challenging times!

Editor’s Note: Upon original publication, the day of George Floyd’s death was incorrect. It has been edited.