Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Even in a historically difficult year, we will take time to reflect on our countless blessings.

Compared to the original Pilgrims, in whose memory we observe the day, most of us have it pretty good. Half of the first Massachusetts colony members froze or starved to death in their inaugural American winter. The native Americans, who helped these flailing Puritans survive, ultimately succumbed to the disease and violence wrought unto them by eager colonials.

We’ve come a long way since then. Though we’re in the throes of a pandemic, an economic crisis, and a divided nation, blessings still abound for all inclined to dwell on them.

For our small part, we are thankful, after witnessing the heroic sacrifices made by military families for two decades, that many of our soldiers can now be home with their families, and we’re disentangling from the last of our foreign entanglements.

We’re thankful for our constitutional protections to speak and assemble freely against the backdrop of peaceful protests happening throughout the nation. Though the current administration makes calls for violence against protesters, we haven’t yet devolved to the brutal, deadly repression of protests we often see in other parts of the world.

We’re thankful for the positive relationships we enjoy with professional municipal and state law enforcement agencies, unlike many cities nationwide wrestling with legitimate social, racial, and economic divides that lead to deep mistrust between their residents and police.

We’re thankful for peace and security as we watch autocratic regimes brutally repress their citizens and make warzones of their homes.

We’re thankful to live in a nation of laws, checks, and balances that keep crooked presidents and politicians in check.

We’re thankful for the freedom to vote and the periodic “do-overs” afforded to us through fair and free elections.

We’re thankful for clean air even though it happens to be quite cold at this moment.

We’re thankful to be mostly free of natural disasters, even as our thoughts turn to people suffering from historic wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

We’re thankful that our communities all enjoy clean, affordable water as many communities wrestle with the deadly challenge of lead and PFAS in theirs.

We’re thankful to live in a nation of immigrants, even if half of Americans don’t understand why that makes us so rich.

We’re thankful for Freedom of Religion that might allow us to bail on a church with a history of systematic abuse against helpless children.

We’re thankful for presidential term limits, and peaceful transfers of power, even as some would try to defy them.

We’re thankful that Vermont and New Hampshire have good Governors.

We’re extremely thankful that Democrats and Progressives lost their supermajority in the Vermont House.

We’re thankful that the courts continue to strike blows against public-sector unions.

We’re thankful for the Belichick-Brady years and a determinative answer to the immemorial question: Is it Belichick OR Brady? Yes.

We’re thankful that (in the immortal words of Will Rodgers) “we’re not getting all the government we’re paying for.”

We’re thankful for law enforcement who give “distracted driving” tickets to those who are too selfish, irresponsible, and immature to pull over for their stupid phones.

We’re thankful for “Freedom of Information” laws even though government agents and actors remain so committed to avoiding them.

We’re thankful the world is starting to hear how wholly destructive social media platforms have been to society and democracy (even though people are painfully slow to unplug in the face of this overwhelming evidence).

Closer to home, we’re continually thankful for the spirit of independence and self-sufficiency that pervades our readership area and represents one of the last bastions of traditional Yankee values in Vermont and New Hampshire.

We’re thankful for area charities, people who volunteer, and the spirit of community and giving that drives them.

We are perpetually thankful to have world-class educational opportunities afforded to our kids.

We’re thankful for endless outdoor recreational activities that make us the envy of our urban neighbors in all directions.

We’re thankful for access to high-quality health care at NVRH, LRH, NCH, Weeks, Upper Connecticut Valley and Cottage hospitals… even if our health care system remains hopelessly broken.

We’re thankful for the heroic men and women who staff these healthcare centers, at great personal risk, to care for us during a pandemic.

We’re thankful a vaccine appears to be right around the corner.

We’re thankful for all the people who wear masks and follow scientists and healthcare professionals’ prescriptions at the state and federal level.

We’re thankful for the hardscrabble area employers who continue to eke out an existence even as Vermont remains hell-bent on taxing us all completely out of existence.

We’re thankful to have such committed, professional, and talented staffers to chronicle life in our region.

And finally, as the last remaining independent, family-owned daily newspaper in Vermont, we’re thankful for you (our reader) and to our valued advertisers whose support makes our existence possible.

PLEASE shop local and have a Happy Thanksgiving.

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