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Editorial: Remember to celebrate workers today

A year ago at this time we remarked on how the COVID-19 pandemic had led so many of us to have even more respect for America’s working people. The message bears repeating today.

After all, millions have kept at their jobs and enabled our nation to continue functioning despite unprecedented challenges.

Many had to continue direct interactions with the public and coworkers during the worst of the pandemic. We’re talking about people in health care, transportation, first responders, farmers, food processors and distributors, manufacturing workers, truckers and retail employees, among many others who do essential work that can’t be accomplished from home. Not only have they faced far greater exposure to the virus than the rest of us, but they’ve had to deal with sometimes unruly members of the public who object to the pandemic rules and regulations.

And we must note that this troubled summer has posed tremendous challenges for our armed forces, firefighters and utility workers. They have performed admirably under extraordinary strain.

We salute the educators who had to learn new ways to do their work when online learning was predominant and now are adjusting to classroom life under continued difficult conditions.

The people who have been working from home deserve credit as well. Doing so reduced the risk of COVID-19 spread for the everyone else. They managed to reinvent their jobs on the fly, finding ways to work without being in the same room as their colleagues and enduring plenty of technological hiccups in the process. Many had to figure out how to juggle work and child care responsibilities at the same time. Despite all these challenges, businesses, schools and other organizations have kept going.

If anything, our appreciation for workers only has grown in the past year. We’ve seen the impact that shortages of employees have had on businesses large and small, and the ripple effect that has an impact on customers who can’t necessarily get what they want when they want it.

Workers around the country have been at this for a year and a half. At this point it seems routine, and you rarely hear the tributes to our labor force that were so common back in 2020. We must stress that no matter how much longer this goes on, nothing about it is routine. What’s been happening in workplaces and homes across our area, the state, country and even the world would have been unimaginable just last year. Don’t forget that.

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, and we’ve endured a rather difficult one. The delta variant deflated hopes of a full return to our familiar ways of doing things, though we’re closer to normal than we were a year ago. The advent of COVID-19 vaccines has made it possible for people to gather with less risk of spreading serious illness. Entertainment and sports events have audiences again.

This summer saw the return of widespread travel and a renewal of festivals and ceremonies that were derailed by the pandemic in 2020. Even amid so much troubling news, people managed to have fun.

As this holiday weekend comes to a close, we encourage our readers to enjoy these waning days of summer and for at least a little while try to put aside thoughts of the pandemic and our other troubles. The same goes for the unfortunate ongoing focus on what divides rather than unites us. For all our difficulties and controversies, we still live in a great and prosperous nation with much to celebrate. Let’s try to remember that.

We’re in incredibly challenging times, yet people continue to adapt and endure. We have no other choice. On the day when America pays tribute to its workers, it’s appropriate to step back, show appreciation and celebrate.

Source: Berkshire mont

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