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Our fragility has become new reality

There will be myriad expressions of opinion about 2021 put forth in the days ahead, probably most of them bad.

But, all considered, the Bedford Valley Assembly of God Church along Route 220, south of Bedford, expressed one kind of opinion that should be dominant as people reflect on the happenings of the past 12 months.

On its message board in front of the church, during part of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the church proclaimed “Be thankful for God’s love.”

No doubt such thinking helped guide many people during the darkest days, weeks and months of COVID-19, this year and last year.

And, unfortunately, there might be dark days yet to come.

However, there were some positive things about 2021 that deserve to be acknowledged.

Perhaps the most important one, for the long term, is the newfound realization of how fragile are one’s particular circumstances and, thus, people need to be flexible in terms of adjusting their lives quickly to deal with unanticipated circumstances.

The coronavirus assault in 2020 was not envisioned initially by most people as a malady that would remain cemented in place for so long. Having learned otherwise, most people during 2021 changed, or settled into, revised activities and habits that kept most of them safe, albeit inconvenienced.

The same was true for businesses and other entities dependent on the foot-traffic factor. Across the United States, COVID-19 caused the closings of many thousands of entities, but many others, threatened by the same fallout from the pandemic, used their best instincts and judgment to allow them to continue to exist and look forward to a better time.

Likewise, not to be forgotten are the school administrators, teachers and support services employees who bounced back from 2020’s horrific circumstances and brought back learning experiences similar to what existed pre-pandemic.

Like 2020, 2021 was a challenge for hospitals, emergency services and fire departments.

There would have been more cause for thankfulness if the federal and some state governments had been focused more on cooperation and compromise than on partisanship.

Churches and their pastors, too, should not be overlooked for how they adjusted and shepherded their flocks.

How 2021 began will not be forgotten; the Mirror’s Jan. 7 headline, “Democracy under siege,” was the introduction to a topic that consumed the entire year and that will remain a topic throughout 2022. Then there was the controversial way the withdrawal from Afghanistan was handled; the ongoing immigration issue; wildfires in the western U.S.; the climate-change debate; ships docked offshore, unable to unload their cargoes; high-profile murder trials; and the alleged voter-suppression activities in some states.

But, the newly passed federal infrastructure bill will provide major benefits for the Southern Alleghenies region, going forward.

In Blair County, there were a number of positive developments, only a snippet of which were the opening of the Grande Palazzo on the site of the former Bon Secours Holy Family Hospital, news that a buyer had an option on the vacant former Kmart store building, progress regarding the former McCrory’s store building in Downtown Altoona and DelGrosso Foods, Inc.’s, announcement of a $60 million expansion project.

Hopefully, on Dec. 31, 2022, there will be many more grounds for thankfulness than sadness because overall, 2021 did not live up to its possibilities.

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