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As summer dawns, let’s stay positive

This is the weekend every year that most Americans regard as the Gateway to Summer, even though summer won’t begin officially until June 20.

This “beginning of summer” weekend is much too often met by damp, colder-than-normal weather conditions that throw the proverbial monkey wrench into picnic plans and other outdoor activities.

Of course, this year is different in a worse way because of the tragic coronavirus pandemic that still is sickening people across this country and claiming lives at the same time.

People of the Southern Alleghenies region this weekend are joining other Americans in hoping and praying that higher temperatures in the weeks ahead are successful in “beating down” the virus, if not totally eradicating it, although health officials are cautioning against counting on such finality.

There is nothing wrong with hoping and praying, no matter what the predictions.

But there are grounds for hope and some sense of optimism this weekend, with some restrictions having been lifted, although the “green light” for ending precautions seems a substantial distance away.

However people of Blair and surrounding counties choose to greet and experience this weekend, at the foundation should be gratitude if they and their loved ones have not been touched directly by the virus.

Perhaps their most important objective this weekend should be to serve as positive examples for others in the continuing fight to close COVID-19’s windows of opportunity to add others to its lists of infected people and those who have lost their battles against the virus.

Whatever the coming weeks bring, consider this:

As horrific and unnerving as this health emergency has been, it has enabled millions of families to “get to know” being with one another again — to assess the courses of their lives, to acknowledge the rights as well as the wrongs.

Paths to more optimistic futures might be mapped in some homes but, even if not, some previously unrecognized pitfalls might now be targeted for attention.

Limitations and restrictions that the pandemic has necessitated have provided time for people of all religious faiths, as well as those who don’t count themselves as being part of any organized religion, to assess their beliefs and how well they have lived those beliefs in their associations with others and in making a positive impact on people less fortunate.

There has been grief of previously unimaginable proportions, but many people have proven themselves to be magnanimously greater than they imagined, even six months ago, in how they have mobilized themselves and their talents on behalf of those suffering in whatever way.

Those people represent the real foundation of hope as they continue their valiant efforts now, while realizing they might be called upon again if COVID-19 returns in the fall or winter.

The dawn of summer — even if unofficially — is upon us. Longer periods of daylight, warmer weather and ample sunlight are seeds of hope.

This beginning is vastly different than what others before it have been, but it must not become an opening for more tragedy.

Every individual has an important role to play in that objective or mission by exercising the best judgment and common sense possible.

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