Let’s hear it for the heroes

It’s happened all over the world, in large cities and small towns. People are taking to their windows, balconies, porches and sidewalks to cheer and clap and ring bells. Also to sing, bang on pots and pans, even set off fireworks. All to say thank you.

If you’re not a healthcare worker, just imagine what it must be like — putting your life at risk to help others, fighting a global pandemic without, in some cases, even proper safety equipment or adequate medical supplies.

If you are a healthcare worker, thank you. Bless you.

Know that our hearts ache for you. Know that our hearts swell.

And if these words can’t quite express our gratitude, may the sounds of thousands of voices, raised in praise to your heroic efforts, send the message.

It’s happened all over the world, in large cities and small towns. People are taking to their windows, balconies, porches and sidewalks to cheer and clap and ring bells. Also to sing, bang on pots and pans, even set off fireworks. All to say thank you – something we particularly appreciate at St. Jude, where dedicated doctors and nurses continue caring for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases, even as many of us work from home for safety's sake.

It can feel helpless at home. But people around the world are finding ways to come together, even as they stay apart – all to let those on the front lines, our healthcare heroes, know they're loved and appreciated.

It’s happened in London, where buildings were lit up in blue, boats on the River Thames blew their horns, and the royal family tweeted clapping-hand emojis.

It's happened in a small California town, where the locals have created the nightly Mill Valley Howl. Resident Suz Lipman wrote on Instragram:

"From my house, the Howl seems to start low in the valley and swell and run through the neighborhoods and canyons and up into the hills. It takes on different shapes in its few short minutes, before dying back down. Dogs and perhaps actual coyotes join in. I howl back at the noise and my neighbors' lit houses. I howl to thank those on the front lines, the first responders. I howl to mark the days of this strange time."

It's happened in New York City, where – as in the video above – the streets are mostly empty but the buildings resound with clapping and raucous cheers. The narrator talks about this evening ritual as "her favorite part of the day ... when we all come out and we cheer for our incredible health care workers on the front lines of Covid. We love them and we're thinking of them, and we are with them always in solidarity."

And it's happened in Madrid, where the nightly round of applause not only salutes health care workers but also has soothing qualities for those who have been told to stay home.

“I was a ghost on my street until I started going to the balcony and establishing relationship with my neighbors,” Madrid resident Emanuel Diaz told The Washington Post. “My neighbor on the front balcony told me last night: ‘After this is all over, I can’t wait to go to the street to finally meet you and have a drink together.’ ”

For now, the great struggle against the coronavirus continues, and so do the grateful cheers — from Paris to Richmond, Indiana; from Istanbul to Collierville, Tennessee — for the true heroes of these times.

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