This year has turned out be unlike any others in our lifetimes. A global pandemic has claimed the lives of a quarter of a million Americans, shut down the economy for a while and introduced us to new phrases and practices like, “social distancing” and “drive through birthday parties.” Add in a divisive presidential election, civil unrest and, yes, “murder hornets,” and you’d think there wasn’t much to be thankful for in 2020. Yet we are.

We are thankful for the health care workers who don protective clothing and masks to care for the sick and dying. We are thankful that they care enough, are dedicated enough, to show up day after day, putting themselves at risk for the coronavirus. We are thankful for the nurses and doctors who sit with our loved ones as they pass, or help sick patients connect through technology to their loved ones, who are not able to be there with them. We are thankful for those who prepare the food, clean the corridors and rooms and do everything they can to provide support at the hospitals.

We are thankful for our teachers who had to adapt to a new way of teaching children and, for those able to teach in-person, add “sanitize classrooms and mask monitor” to their already extensive list of duties. In a short space of time and among great uncertainty as to whether schools would go back to in-person teaching at all, teachers had to set up virtual classrooms and find ways to continue to provide emotional and educational support to their students. We are thankful for their dedication and the love they show our children.

We are thankful for school administrators and support staff who are keeping schools safe for teachers and students. School administrators have had to make tough decisions about returning to school and what that would look like, while balancing students’ needs, parents’ concerns, and following safety guidelines. The cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers and support staff have changed procedures, added to their responsibilities. We are thankful for them.

We are thankful for the workers who clamored to go back to work, to do what it took to get the job done and get the environment rolling again.

We are thankful for the owners and managers our small businesses who found new ways to deliver their goods and services. Restaurants started delivering food or offering drive-by pickups. The community supported their efforts, and we are thankful for them, as well.

We are thankful for our farmers who provide us with meats, fruits and vegetables every day. They continued to feed our nation despite their own struggles and obstacles getting their product to market and supplies to farms. With so many families now struggling to put food on their tables, we are especially thankful for the Farm to Families program that provided fresh produce to consumers and made sure the growers’ had a market to sell to. Our farm families take their responsibility as growers seriously. This year, when we bow our heads in thanks over our Thanksgiving meal, be sure to acknowledge their sacrifices.

Finally, from The Cullman Times to our readers and advertisers: We are so thankful for you. It has not been an easy year for newspapers, but we continue each day to do our best to bring you news of your community. We love telling your stories; we share in your sorrows and rejoice in your good news. In a time of a global pandemic, people seek out local news more than ever because what’s happening in their communities is more important than ever. That is why we made the decision back in March to make all our online coronavirus news available at no charge.

Thank you all and we wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving.

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