Thanksgiving Message from Robert S. Needham, U.S. Consul General in Milan, for EasyMilano.com, November 2020
On behalf of everyone at the U.S. Consulate General in Milan, it is a great pleasure for me to wish the readers of Easy Milano a very happy Thanksgiving. For my family, like for so many of you, this is always a day to celebrate family and friendship, to come together around the table, share a meal, and reflect on our many blessings. And we will continue that tradition this year.
But I must admit that this Thanksgiving is unlike any other I have experienced, and I would guess that this is true for many of you. For most of 2020, the world has grappled with a pandemic that has disrupted our normal routines and led to a staggering loss of life. And the economic ramifications of the epidemic mean that families everywhere are facing hardships.
It has been a difficult year, but in a way this pandemic adds more meaning to our annual Thanksgiving celebrations. While we mourn those we have lost, we are also grateful for the sharing, compassion, courage, generosity, and resilience of so many who have come together to support family, friends, and strangers during these difficult times.
We have watched first responders and health care workers rise to the challenge of saving lives. In Milan and New York, in cities across America and around the world, people in lockdown opened their windows and sang together; we cheered nurses, doctors, and ambulance drivers. We lifted each other’s spirits with online concerts and Zoom birthday parties. And for this we should give thanks.
We checked in with our neighbors. We figured out how to get groceries for ourselves and for vulnerable friends and family. We learned how to telework and do our jobs remotely. And even amid this international crisis, we found moments of normalcy and happiness. For this we should also give thanks.
I would be remiss if I failed to mention that we witnessed again, as we do every four years, America’s remarkable national experiment in democracy renew itself through presidential elections. Sure, every presidential campaign season brings with it debate, excitement, and strong emotions, but each one also reaffirms our commitment to the founding ideals of our country and reminds us of our individual civic responsibility. All Americans in all our diversity remain the single “we” in “We the people.” For this, we should all give thanks.
On this November 26, let us remember that no matter the adversity and no matter where in the world we find ourselves today, we are fortunate to have our family and friends, as well as those who strive on our behalf unseen and unknown. I know my wife, son, and I are grateful for all these things and much more, including being here in Milan with all of you.