Giving thanks

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we thought it would be appropriate to ask Penn staffers what they are thankful for this season. Given recent events, it should be no surprise that most said they were thankful just to be alive and well, with supportive friends and family. And for some respondents, having a decent job at Penn is also reason to give thanks.

Security Guard,
Van Pelt-Dietrich Library
“I’m grateful to be alive and to have a good family and to live in America. I sailed on ships all over the world during World War II. Out of 70 ships, only 30 made it. There were machine guns, and now I have to wear a hearing aid. I’m just thankful to be here and to be able to tell the story.”

Plumber, Facilities Services
“I’m thankful that I have a good job. The world is disastrous right now. We’re under attack and my boy is real sick, so it’s kind of hard to find anything to be grateful for. But I am alive and I have a job, so that is something to be happy about.”

Assistant Security Manager, Steinberg-Deitrich Hall
“I’m grateful for good health. There’ s a lot of things: positive attitude, the fact that we’re still functioning as a country after Sept. 11, and basic things like food and all that good stuff. My family and friends are all well. Nobody’s sick. If you don’t feel grateful, just go over to the cancer ward in the hospital and you will.”

Graduate Coordinator,
“The ability to think is what I am grateful for. The normal stuff such as clarity, health and being in this country. I have been out of this country, so I know what to compare it to. Clarity covers a lot of important things. That, health, and folks is what it’s all about.

Food Server, 1920 Commons
“I’m thankful to be alive in this day and age. I’m thankful for my family and that they’re all doing well.”

Food Server,
Hamilton College House
“I’m grateful to be here and to be able to breathe in and out every single day. I’m glad that I am able to look up and see the sky and know I am here and I am alive. I am happy to be an American and to be healthy and to know that everyone I know and love is healthy. These are things to truly be grateful for.”

Receptionist, College Hall
“I’m grateful to be in this country. I am happy to be here at this University at this very moment, knowing I am healthy and my family and friends are healthy. Coming from Bulgaria, it’s very different, but interesting, living in America. I have friends in different places in the world. That’s something to be thankful for.”

—Malaina Freedman

Originally published on November 8, 2001