It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And that means there are many holiday traditions we look forward to: Christmas strolls, art walks, loved ones, and gatherings. Often, the holiday season brings family, warmth, and love. That joy and warmth is still here, even when many of us are without our loved ones because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has been a hard year. We have missed many activities we once enjoyed. Some have sacrificed events and vacations, while others have lost income. Some have lost the loved ones they care about most. We have all sacrificed.

Commitment, dedication, and sacrifice are nothing new to Americans. Our strength, selflessness, and virtue have seen us through the darkest times. We must hold onto these values to get through this generation-defining time. Historically, we rise to the occasion during a crisis.

  • In the late 1700s and early 1800s, we were taxed to the brink, subjugated, and massacred by a foreign government. As a result, we founded a nation based on equality, justice, and opportunity. Our nation serves as a model for people around the world.
  • In the 1930s, we were starving and homeless. We developed social programs to protect our citizens in their greatest time of need. We cared for seniors, those who lost their jobs, and those with nothing left. And, we worked our way out of poverty, while caring for our neighbors.
  • During World War II, we were called to serve and sacrifice in the name of defeating tyranny. We mobilized and arose to the call that few could answer. Our most costly battle even occurred over the holidays. This collective selflessness defined our nation for generations.

The novel coronavirus pandemic is no different. Isolated and putting their lives at risk, our healthcare workers are laboring to exhaustion in our hospitals. Our teachers are working tirelessly to provide top-quality education to our children. Local businesses and community leaders are coordinating relief efforts for those in need.

Gallatin County is a community that does not give up in hard times. We take care of each other and we make the most of what we have. This is the true holiday spirit. No virus can take that away from us.

This holiday season, let’s continue taking steps to slow the pandemic and protect our most vulnerable. Let’s care for those who have cared for and raised us. This may mean hosting a virtual gift exchange, avoiding holiday parties, and giving and receiving fewer gifts. As our community rises to the crisis before us with love, compassion, and selflessness, we are now defining our generation.

We are stronger together. We will get through this together. From all of us at the Gallatin City-County Health Department, we wish you all a healthy and happy holiday season.