Celebrating this Thanksgiving … and Looking Forward to the Next

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope this message finds you and yours well. 

This year, many of us have much to be thankful for – despite the pandemic. Each of us has personal reasons to be grateful. My list includes the fact that the Gazette is still up and running, unlike many small community papers around the US (especially since the onset of COVID-19).

The paper reflects what is happening in our community, so some stories are happy, others less so. The pandemic is, obviously, the recurring theme. As a community, we can celebrate the efforts of Neighbor-to-Neighbor organizations in several of our towns, the Herculean efforts of the Hardwick Area Food Pantry staff and volunteers, AWARE, Hardwick Community Allies … the list of civic organizations that have helped – and help define – our community goes on and on.

We can celebrate Vermont’s high vaccination rate and the halting return to normal that it enabled. Businesses and schools re-opened, and the healthcare system was not overwhelmed. The “new normal” is becoming a little more like the old.

Some stories, however, remind that a lot of work remains to make our community what we really want it to be. The stories of anti-Semitic graffiti in Hardwick, of racist and homophobic chants at high school soccer games, of areas with lagging vaccination rates … all these show that we have more to learn, more to improve.

On this most American of holidays, we might remember that a central tenet of the American Project is to recognize challenges and fix them; to improve our community and country for the next generation.

Progress on building a more just and inclusive society, and on taking uncomfortably aggressive steps to address climate change would make fine additions to next year’s list of Things to be Thankful For.

[Editor’s Note: Things for Which to be Thankful.]