If you’re under the age of 50, you probably don’t remember the way Thanksgiving Day used to be. With the rare exception of a Mini Mart (back then usually 7-11), there were no services available. No groceries, gas, or restaurants (though Chinese restaurants were often open if you had one in your town as told in my favorite Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story“). The cities and towns looked deserted, and even the freeway traffic was light. Granted, that was my experience here near Seattle, but I’ve been told that’s very common.

While many would say that people need to be home for Thanksgiving instead of working, I think there is a happy medium and a shut-it-all-down mentality would put us back into the 70’s when if you had no family, were lonely or ill, or didn’t celebrate the holiday, there wasn’t anything available until the next day.

As a city worker, I often volunteered to work the holiday when my husband had to work. That meant we could have a day off before or after when we could celebrate. Having options like that feels more employee-friendly than forcing people to take a particular day off because there are many families whose loved ones have to work Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Heroes Are All Around Us

As someone who spent Veteran’s Day in an Emergency Room, I can tell you that nurses, doctors, security personnel, administrative assistants, cleaning people, and more were on duty. Each was quietly working to make so many other patients and me better on a day when most people were at home enjoying their families.

Gratefully, the pharmacy techs and cashiers were working when I stopped to get my much-needed pain meds, and the restaurant servers and cooks were working and provided me with my first food in hours, and for that, I was thankful

My Thanksgiving Hero

My Thanksgiving Hero is my husband. In his 34+ years in the fire service, he’s never taken a holiday off so that others with children below him in seniority can. Our children, now adults, work in public service jobs as well, so we rarely have a traditional Thanksgiving. One is a Customer Service Agent for a local airline, the other a State Park Ranger. Holiday or not, airlines are flying passengers, campers still need services, and emergency service personnel still need to respond to emergencies.

I hope that on Thanksgiving, you’ll acknowledge and thank anyone for working that day that you encounter. They work on holidays like Thanksgiving, during inclement weather, and all the other times when we’re safe and warm at home with our families while they’re out keeping the world running for us.