What a difference a year makes.

It seems like only yesterday, but it’s easy to forget that this time last year we were in the depths of a pandemic that few, if any, had ever before experienced.

A year ago, football teams played in empty stadiums. Families canceled holiday gatherings. States struggled with the election process, allowing people to vote in ways never seen before because of the pandemic.

More than 12 million Americans had been diagnosed with COVID-19. According to the Reuters news agency, nearly one million new infections has been recorded in the last six days of November 2020.

A vaccine loomed distantly on the horizon.

Americans responded to government mandates by wearing masks when going out in public.

We regularly heard news of friends, relatives and loved ones dying from COVID-19.

Uncertainty gripped our lives.

A year later, the nation continues to struggle with COVID-19, with some states seeing a sharp uptick in cases.

However, South Carolina hasn’t yet made the map of national hotspots for the virus.

While we’re not out of the woods, I believe most Americans would agree with me that things have gotten better. And for that, I am very grateful.

Love him or hate him, President Donald Trump deserves a lot of credit for fast-tracking the production of a COVID-19 vaccine. I’ve had both shots as well as a booster and thus far I have avoided catching the virus.

Though the pandemic rages on, life has returned to some sense of normalcy.

Those sports arenas and stadiums are filled with capacity crowds.

Restaurants and hotels are not only open, many in our part of the state are enjoying record business.

We are no longer required to wear masks when we go to the grocery store.

Churches are again holding services and people have returned to give thanks to God.

I am particularly grateful that this year I will be able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I’m looking forward to a feast complete with brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts.

If nothing else, the hardships placed on society last year by the pandemic make this Thanksgiving even more special.

For too many years, I have taken Thanksgiving for granted.

The pandemic reminded me that life is short and the opportunities to fellowship with loved ones are fleeting. What we take for granted can be taken in the most unexpected ways.

All of us at My Horry News wish our readers, advertisers and friends the very best Thanksgiving ever!

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