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This holiday season, thousands of Americans will board airplanes and trains, or drive their cars, to visit loved ones near and far. Their journey is long overdue to spend time with family and friends they haven’t seen in person for as much as two years due to the coronavirus pandemic and to share why they are thankful.

Many are thankful for not just one, but a two-shot vaccine and a booster that allows for a closer than six feet apart gathering, a warm hug and possibly a maskless kiss on the cheek, especially for children as young as five years old, who bravely endured a shot in the arm, as well.

A lot has transpired around the world and in our own backyards over the past two years and the nightly news reminds us of just how much is going wrong in the world today. The past two years have focused our attention on a virus that has infected more than 45 million Americans and caused more than 730,000 deaths. Still, we’re thankful that the numbers are decreasing and we know what to do to protect ourselves again if infections increase.

The past two years have been turbulent but not to the extent that there aren’t reasons to be thankful. The murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others at the hands of police and the demonstrations that followed have legislators, justice advocates and business leaders focusing on police reform and equity. Wildfires, hurricanes and floods destroyed homes, leaving a growing community of advocates fighting against global warming. And the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol with threats to members of Congress did nothing to change the results of an election that brought a record number of voters to the polls.

Pervasive issues rooted in violence and hate have raised anxiety to record levels and increased the demand for mental health services. Thankfully, mental health treatment is no longer a stigma and help is more accessible to those who want it.

Despite it all, we wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Eat, drink and share reasons to be thankful and take note of the solutions that come from discussing the problems of the world.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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