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May the Thanksgiving spirit linger

I somehow forget from year to year how much I enjoy the charm, spirit and reliability of Thanksgiving, a long, overdue pause, as we get ready to close out another year.

It's a holiday that doesn't require that much, mostly just eating and socializing. It's not religious. It's American and inclusive. Even in these polarized times, it remains remarkably apolitical.

There's no real red or blue in Thanksgiving.

Even for those who have had to work through some of the weekend, it's hard not to enjoy the spirit of a holiday that often starts on Wednesday night, with so many family reunions beginning, and lasts through a lingering finale, with much of the  travel home slog often not finishing until Sunday.

In a nod to all the local families who kept a lid on potentially contentious political discourse this Thanksgiving weekend, I'll keep to myself my own thanks for what I think has been generally positive about the year in politics.

Certainly many others have given thanks for very different reasons, as we slide from one anxiety-producing election to another.

Wouldn't it be great if we could keep alive a little further in the calendar the polite discourse we still seem to respect around Thanksgiving?

I know that's naive. I'm sure we'll be back at each other's throats tomorrow. But wouldn't it be nice to be able to ratchet down the animosity and turn up the goodwill more often, in the same way we seem to be able to for this annual Thanksgiving recess?

It is still a time of the year when we seem to be able to agree that we do indeed all love our country. Let's be honest, the holiday has very little to do any more with facts or legends about pilgrims and Colonial New England.

Thanksgiving is about celebrating all of America. And what a great sentiment to celebrate around: gratitude.

Of course, we've all had our personal reasons to be thankful this year for all the good things that may have happened to the loved ones around us. Sometimes we can be thankful that the bad things that happened were not worse.

I would suggest that we all have one thing in common this year to be enormously grateful for, and that's the way we have all collectively helped bring this horrible pandemic close to a conclusion.

It's not over. We've fought about the logistics. We've even disagreed about the severity of the threat.

But even if we didn't agree on everything, we fought it together. And I don't think people on either side of the mask mandate debate, the vaccinated or the unvaccinated, feel any less pain than any others for those who have been lost to a disease most of us had never heard of two Thanksgivings ago.

I also believe we all can probably agree that the heroes of these trying times, since our pandemic innocence has been lost, are the health care professionals who remain on the front lines.

It's been reassuring to know that on the other side of breakthrough infections, super spreaders and sudden sickness have been these caring, competent professionals manning the nets, asking how you feel, not how you got sick in the first place.

They have all my gratitude in this revival, almost-post-pandemic Thanksgiving season, another that we will remember for a long time.

I can only hope that their inspiration might help us keep alive the wonderful spirit of Thanksgiving a little longer.

This is the opinion of David Collins

d.collins@theday.com

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