It’s at this time of year that we are called to reflect on Thanksgiving and all that we have to be thankful for.

It’s been a difficult year with the effects of COVID-19, the political divide and dissension in our country along with a summer of destructive flooding, fires and drought across our planet.

My own gratitude is for the many people who are endeavoring to make our community, our country and our world a better place to live. And so I share a few of them.

For the researchers and scientists who developed COVID-19 vaccines to save countless lives. For all those who are administering those vaccines and for those who trusted the science to be vaccinated to protect themselves, their families, friends and communities.

For Gov. Walz and like-minded governors around our country who put their states’ constituents ahead of political aspirations with mandates considered by science to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For all the Riverwood Healthcare Center staff and all medical personnel on the frontline in hospitals all over our country trying to save COVID-19 lives at risk of their own and working countless hours in the most difficult situations.

For all the first responders, EMTs and ambulance crews coming at a phone call; especially the ambulance crew who arrived at 2:30 a.m. in just minutes to take my husband to the ER in October.

For the policemen, highway patrol and firemen who risk their lives every day to make our communities a safer place to live.

For the environmentalists and scientists who are working to combat climate change. And for those nations at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland endeavoring to put measures into place to save our beautiful world from destruction. Though not all will change at once, the United States and China did make a joint announcement on Nov. 10 that they will both do more to cut fossil fuel pollution this decade. It can’t come soon enough.

For the many young protestors in Glasgow taking up the crusade to stop climate change. The signs they carried said it all--“The Dinosaurs Thought They Had Time Too,” “Stop Climate Crime” and “If Not Now, When?” They are the ones who will inherit the future disasters we are currently bringing upon the world. Their resolve to stand up to save their future world from more destruction earned my admiration.

For Greta Thunberg, the 18 year-old Swedish activist, who in 2018 after Sweden’s fiercely hot summer of wildfires and omens of disaster, sat outside the Swedish parliament every day with her simple message, “Our House is on Fire.” She continues to be a spokesperson for the young activists around the world.

For those men and women in our Congress who with great courage and moral conscience put partisan politics aside to vote for those policies that will benefit the American people and our democracy.

For those peaceful activists who take a stand against racism, prejudice, bullying, harassment and injustice in any form and work for social justice for all people.

For President Biden and Vice President Harris who are striving for a “Build Back Better” America and have reinstated policies which will protect our wildlife, national parks and monuments, wildlife refuges and endangered species.

I’m also thankful for my family, friends, community of faith and the larger Aitkin community, all of which enrich my life.

I trust each of you will take some time on Thanksgiving to reflect on what those things for which you have gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!

Linda Hommes lives on a small farm on Camp Lake in Kimberly Township. An outdoor enthusiast, she writes nature essays, memoir and poetry.

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