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Our nation has survived the worst health care crisis in 100 years.

The vast majority of us showed great respect to those with underlying health conditions by following the rules. For the most part, we did so with grace toward one another. I am grateful to the hundreds of millions of Americans who showed the best side of America.

Our nation led the world in developing vaccines to stop this virus from killing even more. Private enterprise and government — working together, in the great American tradition — brought multiple vaccines to market in record time with even more vaccines to follow.

American ingenuity and public-private collaboration showed the best side of America.

Our nation faced a bitter partisan national election. Our response to the angry, divisive political rhetoric was to turn out in record numbers and vote. Our individual participation in this record-setting vote showed the best side of America.

Yes, it was an angry election, but democracy worked – again. Our nation’s peaceful transition of power showed the best side of America.

In our small towns here in Florida, our incredible health care teams exemplified the term “servant leadership.” While many of us were able to quarantine and socially distance, our health care professionals worked, for months, under tough situations, to make sure the rest of us stayed healthy.

That service to others showed the best side of America.

Our nursing home residents are the most vulnerable among us. Many nursing home residents have less than two years to live under normal circumstances. Yet, tens of thousands of Floridians risked their own lives every day, to care for our most vulnerable. Our nursing home caregivers’ human tenderness, lavished on the most vulnerable, is the best side of America.

Our educational professionals in our hometowns chose their passion for our children's needs over their own health. This was the most difficult year of an educator’s career. That, once school started back, so many educators did so much, with so little complaining, showed the best side of America.

All over Florida, employees of businesses ranging from restaurants to grocery stores came to work so that the rest of us could have our lives as minimally-disrupted as possible. Each customer interaction was an opportunity to get the COVID virus and potentially die, but employees came to work. That those employees were willing to serve each of us with a smile, despite the health risk, showed the best side of America.

We are in the community newspaper business because we like the mission of waking up every day thinking about how to make our community a better place. Each time a fellow D-R Media employee tested positive, there were anxious moments around our office. Yet, with good humor and grit, our newspaper team worked to serve.

Their willingness to support our community during the pandemic showed the best side of America.

This Christmas, I was particularly thankful for all the gifts, from so many strangers, showing the best side of America. You gave me hope and energy, as we look forward to the amazing future ahead of us in the new year.

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David Dunn-Rankin is CEO of D-R Media, which owns the Four Corners News-Sun, Winter Haven Sun and Polk News-Sun in Polk County, as well as newspapers in Highlands, Lake and Sumter counties. He can be reached at david@d-r.media.