It’s New Year’s Eve and boy are we ready to say goodbye to 2020. After this year, just thinking about the usual throng of revelers in New York’s Times Square makes us cringe and want to wash our hands with lots of soap and warm water.
This was certainly a year for the history books, between the COVID-19 pandemic and one of the most divisive election seasons in recent memory.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of Dec. 27, there have been more than 18.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, with 330,901 deaths. Those are startling and staggering numbers, numbers we all pray we do not see repeated in 2021.
That there is a vaccine, that people are receiving it, is the good news going out of 2020 and into 2021. We are getting there. We will get there.
We have all lost this year due to this virus. We have lost loved ones. We have lost jobs and homes. Children have lost out on valuable life experiences. And so much continues to be on hold, in limbo for the foreseeable future.
While we all are carrying that pain from 2020, we should remember all the good that came out of the past year.
Think about the everyday heroism shown by our frontline workers in health care. They faced long days, saw enormous suffering and risked their own lives to care for those who needed it most.
That heroism deserves to be remembered.
Look at how our community came together in the face of COVID-19 and the shutdown of our lives and livelihoods.
When schools closed, a dedicated group of organizers banded together to ensure children would have access to those school meals that are a lifeline for so many. That effort grew to making sure older residents throughout the county who also may have difficulty getting food would not go hungry.
Think about the renewed efforts shown to support our local business community that was completely shut down during the pandemic’s first wave.
That sense of community spirit deserves to be remembered.
Reflect on the bravery of all those who stood up and took the ongoing fight for equity and equality to a new level.
Demonstrators and protestors filled the streets to demand our nation lives up to its own promise, its own laws that “all men are created equal.” While the protests and rallies and vigils here were peaceful, those fighting for their rights elsewhere were met with the very brutality they were demonstrating against.
That bravery deserves to be remembered.
And an election — no matter how ugly — is always a cause for celebration. Elections are the very core of our democratic institution. They are the time for the people to stand up and be counted and to hold those in power accountable.
In the middle of a pandemic, we had a presidential election. Our state and local election officials worked hard to ensure not only the integrity of the process, but also to preserve the public health.
Every voter could cast a ballot without fear of getting COVID-19. That was no small feat.
This past year shows our resiliency. It shows that even when times are at their most challenging, most desperate, most disheartening, we as a community can rise up and support one another.
Maybe you did it as part of a larger initiative — a food drive, a fund drive — or just checking in on a neighbor who might need to hear a friendly voice, you played a part of this community’s history-making 2020.
That resiliency deserves to be remembered.
And we will need all of that — that bravery, that heroism, that community spirit, that resiliency — next year too as we hope for better news to come in 2021.