This Thanksgiving it might seem difficult to find those things for which we are thankful. We are amid a raging pandemic that is keeping families apart during this holiday. Our country is divided, struggling to find our footing after a bitter election, a growing racial divide, and more Americans struggling to even put food on their table.

So, I asked the question that I asked four years ago … what is it we are thankful for this holiday season? I posted this on my Facebook page, emailed the question to several people, and we included it in the WhatsUpNewp newsletter. I had no idea what to expect. Things are quite different today than in 2016, when there was no pandemic and when we had come through a contentious election but had yet to experience a Trump presidency. As happened in 2016, I received several responses, too many to include in just one column. Part 1 ran yesterday and can still be found on WUN today. Part 2 runs today.

I’m thankful for the thoughtfulness of all those who responded. In 2016 and this year, many of the responses are heartfelt, but unlike 2016, it is clear how much the pandemic is consuming our lives, our thoughts. So, here it goes. These are in no order, mainly listed by when they came in. I would urge you read through the responses. 

And to all of you – I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, even though it might be different this year. Think about the year and find those people to whom you are thankful. Touch base with family via online services, or that old fashioned device – the telephone. Call people who you want to thank. It’s a great day to show your gratitude

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Angela McCalla, Newport City Council, First Ward

Thanksgiving is a chance to put everything in perspective. 

“Each day I am thankful for the nights that turned into mornings

Friends that turned into family

Dreams that turned into reality

Likes that turned into love. “

-Author Unknown

Many, including myself and family not only see this day as a gift to enjoy but as opportunities to give back. Right now as we prepare to gather around our dinner tables; there are still people who do not have that luxury. Many of them have suffered great losses due to COVID. People have lost homes, possessions, and even loved ones. In the midst of so much tragedy, there are still glimmers of hope. There are people who believe we have a responsibility to give back to those who are less fortunate. To pull each other up and move forward together. I have seen small businesses donating food; essential workers helping families in the midst of crisis; families and neighbors offering up whatever they could give including time to pass out masks in protection of our residents — some they have never met.  It is often easy to do nothing and leave the rest for others to do, that is not who we are. That is not what we do as Newporters. We are bold, generous, and love what we do. When the people we love are in crisis we roll up our sleeves and get to work. We don’t do it for the recognition or reward but because its the right thing to do and because, here in Newport, we rise and fall together. To all of our residents, friends, neighbors, and service members doing their part, thank you. 

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Anonymous – My unemployment benefits.  I’m a 1099-er and out of work since March 10th, due to Covid.

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Dot Walsh – Thank you for your (WhatsUpNewp) work for the community.  We are newly moved here and are grateful for your daily news.

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Liz Walker – I am grateful to the voters of the City of Newport for passing the School Bond and making Newport an even better place to live.

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Joseph Piccardi – I’m thankful for a real President.

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Beth Cotton Salk – The ability with platforms like zoom to stay connected and reconnect with old friends

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Jerry O’Connell – Thankful that our country’s core values have been tested as never before and despite the strains and wounds we’re still feeling, will not only survive but eventually heal and come out stronger than before.

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Ed Kane – I am thankful that my three children all in their own unique way inspire me and influence me in making the most challenging choices unconditionally that demonstrate pure love to deal with all we are facing! I’ve never been prouder of them! 

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Len Handler – Thankful for how this disastrous year has altered my perception of how we look at and value our fellow humans and praying that ultimately those altered values will become the new norm……

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Theodore LoebenbergFreecoatexchange.org

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Angela Ionata – Thankful for libraries.

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Hank Randall – I’m grateful for the time I’m spending with my granddaughter, through whose eyes I get to discover the world all over again.

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Margaret RileyI am thankful this Thanksgiving that after 96 years the good Lord has blessed me with the ability to live alone, drive a car, listen to beautiful music, see and read inspirational books, prepare my own meals, take an invigorating walk, spend time in prayer and, most of all I am grateful for those whom I love and who love me. 

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Bruce Borylo – First, I’m hopeful and thankful that the angst that has gripped me over the last four years will lessen. Second, I’m thankful that our democracy has survived a threat that I had only envisaged… 

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Audrey Triolo Thankful for the friendships that grow and give support, love, and growth in our lives.

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Shari Kaplan Paler -I am so thankful just to know my beautiful children and grandchildren are safe and happy. And I have a loving husband by my side, a puppy who constantly makes me smile. Life is good.

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May Kernan – Very thankful for the return of hope.

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Mary Clare O’Grady – I am thankful that I have family close by that I can be with during these difficult times. We may not hug as much as usual, but from a safe distance I can look into their eyes, while their voices flow directly from their mouths to my ears – not through a computer.

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Sarah McClutchy – I generally feel strongly ambivalent about smartphones and bitter about the addictiveness, but this year, I found myself feeling an immense gratitude for them. Thanks to having this technology, I’ve been able to stay connected with friends and family, and even reconnect with old friends during all the down time. Without one, the isolation felt this year would be much worse.

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Kathy Densberger – I am thankful that I have known great love, deep sadness, some pain, wonderful laughter, many tears and such a long life filled to the brim.

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Iris H Levinsohn – Being Thankful for family and friends, health, and happiness. Having a roof over my head and food to eat. Hopeful that all people will come together and have a peaceful year, to love one another and hope for the future of the USA and other countries!

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Frank Prosnitz

Frank Prosnitz brings to WhatsUpNewp several years in journalism, including 10 as editor of the Providence (RI) Business News and 14 years as a reporter and bureau manager at the Providence (RI) Journal. Prosnitz began his journalism career as a sportswriter at the Asbury Park (NJ) Press, moving to The News Tribune (Woodbridge, NJ), before joining the Providence Journal. Prosnitz hosts the Morning Show on WLBQ radio (Westerly), 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday, and It’s Your Business, also on WBLQ, Monday and Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Prosnitz has twice won Best in Business Awards from the national Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW), twice was named Media Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration, won an investigative reporter’s award from the New England Press Association, and newswriting award from the Rhode Island Press Association.