Each year on Thanksgiving, we offer a series of toasts to remind readers — and ourselves — that life is about much more than the travails that we face each day. In fact, life is flooded with blessings, with gifts of great importance, and with meaningful things that can be joyous if we only allow them to be.
Some things in life will be devastatingly sad or deeply troubling or profoundly frustrating regardless of what we wish for, of course, but then we also must remember not to allow such things to define who we are and how we see the world. Each day, each one of us has the opportunity to find find beauty, to build meaning and purpose.
So to end, we’d like to offer our first toast to the late Dallas police Sgt. Bronc “Bronco” McCoy. He lived a life of service, and by so doing showed the rest of us that there is something special to be found in the seemingly small but tremendously important tasks involved in serving, in protecting our communities. He lost a battle with COVID-19, and he won our hearts and our enduring appreciation. You will be missed, sir.
To Stephany Hume, we raise our glass to you. You are a two-time cancer survivor who, just hours after surgery, taught remotely from your hospital bed while battling a 102-degree fever so that your students at Sewell Elementary School in Sachse would not fall behind in their studies. We suspect your students will have forever learned something about courage and dedication. To the rest of us, you taught something about commitment.
To Collette Flanagan of Mothers Against Police Brutality and Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle for collaborating to raise awareness about social injustice, we raise our glasses to you. The hard work, courage and fortitude you’ve demonstrated will unite others and drive a dialogue capable of delivering changes that have been too long delayed. Your work ensures our society will live up to its solemn promise of equality, and for that we stand now with you and in your honor.
We raise our glasses to Eric Hale, the first Black man to be named Texas Teacher of the Year, for breaking a glass ceiling and being an inspiring male role model to his first- and second graders at David G. Burnet Elementary School in Dallas.
And for reminding us of richness and beauty that can resonate out of human creativity, we raise a toast to musician Ray Benson, leader of the Texas swing band Asleep at the Wheel, who recovered from COVID-19 this year. The sounds of so many amazing Texas musicians come flooding into the mind as we think about the beautiful landscapes and inviting communities of our state. We would salute you more, but we prefer to let your music fill the room.
To NorthPark Center and Carl Anderson, who portrays Santa, we toast you both. This year will have to be an online affair, with proceeds of reservation fees going to Children’s Health, but we wish you good health and a little bit of the copious amount of joy you have spread over the years.
To Matthew McConaughey and his irrepressible zen-like optimism. We probably wouldn’t vote for you as governor, but we think you’d do a fantastic job portraying some of the most colorful governors of our past. Regardless, we agreed with you when you once said that “it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates.” We’re grateful you added a little sparkle to our political conversations this year. We wish endless green lights for you, sir.
To Pfizer and Moderna, we say thank you and raise our glasses now in hope that a toast to you will help speed along those promising vaccines. To each research institution, each facility that brought us masks and other PPE, each facility that turned out COVID-19 tests for us, and each health care institution that created a new promising treatment, we salute you and raise our glass a second time to toast you.
To the nurses and doctors and frontline workers, grocery clerks and delivery drivers, and each person who has made it possible to get through this pandemic, our hats are off to you, our glasses are raised, and our hearts are open. We know you’ve paid a tremendous price in service to us all, and we hope you know that you have the eternal gratitude of each and every one of us. Thank you.
Finally, to you dear readers, we offer a toast to those who engage in the American experiment that’s now going on 244 years. This was a year of elections, of a pandemic, of an economy sliding into uncharted waters. It’s been a year of protests, debates and uncertainty.
It’s also been a year when, in the toughest of times, we saw some of the best of people. In hospitals and living right next door, that one thing still embedded in the fabric of our community is concern for each other. We saw neighbors wave from afar in recognition that keeping our distance is the best way to show how close our hearts are.
You, dear readers, draw our admiration and have earned our closing toast. Thanks for joining with us and caring about our community.
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