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Have a blessed, safe and happy Thanksgiving

Too often, we prosperous, free Americans take our many blessings for granted.

That said, if any good has come from the COVID-19 pandemic we have experienced for a year and a half now, let us hope it has reinforced to us the fragility of life and helped us to better appreciate the gifts we have. Indeed, we all have so much for which to be thankful!

As we come together today — whether in person or via the gifts of the digital age — many of us will say a prayer of thanksgiving and speak words of support and gratitude for those here with us, or those who have left this earth.

Countless Ohioans have experienced the pain of losing co-workers or friends or loved ones this year due to COVID-19. Many of us in Mahoning and Trumbull counties have been ill at home or hospitalized ourselves with this scourge of a disease.

Of course, we will spend time today celebrating the ones we love and recalling those we have lost.

But as we pray and hope — and if we gather together, hopefully following health guidelines of wearing masks, washing our hands repeatedly and staying socially distanced — we only can hope this is the final holiday we will have the worries of catching or spreading COVID-19.

Among all of this and despite illness, or heartbreaking losses, we are certain we all will find some glimmer of hope and reasons for gratitude this holiday. Area children, your neighbors and so many others throughout the Mahoning Valley took the time recently to share some of those thoughts of gratitude that we happily are sharing with you in today’s newspaper.

Inside, you will find many brief, but heartfelt, submissions from classrooms of young children and other readers.

You also can read lovely stories about young people in our area who seem to have avoided falling into the trap that so many of us do. Rather, they have recognized their blessings, and we are sharing those stories with you.

One of those young people, Berkley Corey of New Springfield shared her love of 4-H in her letter of thanks submitted to The Vindicator.

Berkley, 11, is grateful for the skills she’s learned through 4-H and for her family, who encouraged her to join the organization. She shows chickens and has won many blue ribbons through her hard work and dedication.

While Berkley showed great maturity and sincerity in expressing her thankfulness for her family this holiday, her parents, of course, couldn’t be more proud of her.

Indeed, we also are thankful for the strength of our young people who are an amazing blessing to this great nation’s future.

We pray that you and those you love have a happy, safe, healthy and blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

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