November 18, 2020
In this Issue
  • Commentary: Time for Being Thankful
  • Latest Updates on COVID-19
  • Bulletin Board
  • What Can I Do?
  • Check your Calendar

Time for Being Thankful
Next week is the formal day set aside for thanksgiving. For many that means food, and I love the foods associated with the holiday of Thanksgiving. It is a time of generosity as many people and groups make sure that everyone has something to eat at least on that day. For others the meaning of Thanksgiving may be the sales that come with unique bargains that are offered on “Black Friday” although I do not know how those sales will be accommodated during a pandemic. Certainly the crowds pressed against the front doors of stores about to open would not be safe nor would the rush to the best bargains be a good idea.

Some believe that the first Thanksgiving occurred on December 4, 1619 when Captain John Woodlief and 35 Englishmen landed at what is now known as Berkeley Plantation. They immediately fell to their knees as the charter under which they were sailing required giving thanks to the good Lord for their safe passage from what had been a rough voyage and for the thousands of acres of pristine lands on which they were going to settle. There was no mention of the indigenous people who had occupied the land for as many as 15,000 years before their arrival. More than a year later at Plymouth Settlement a festival occurred that included settlers and indigenous people in what is more often referred as the first Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving as a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November dates to a proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863. Even in the midst of a civil war, Lincoln reminded the nation of “the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies” under the “providence of Almighty God.” Lincoln found that “a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity” had not “arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship” and “the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase in freedom…the gracious gifts of the Most High God.”

The spirit of Lincoln should be with us as we celebrate Thanksgiving this year. Our institutions of government have been tested over the last nearly four years as seldom before. The voters have largely dispersed those who showed little respect for our values and traditions. It will soon be less painful to read the morning newspaper or to listen to the evening news. There will be fewer times of looking at social media with disbelief at the actions of our national leaders. We will have lively debates as we always do in our democratic republic, but those debates can lead to greater freedoms from inequalities, hunger and health threats.

The pandemic is testing our patience as few other events in our lives have, but we can remind ourselves and others that face masks, social distancing, and no crowds will help to preserve our health as well as that of others. And we can remind ourselves and others that the blessings we ultimately enjoy are not simply of our own making but are as Lincoln reminded us “the gracious gifts of the Most High God”—by whatever name we may call that spirit!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving next week!
Latest Updates on COVID-19

Fairfax County

11/17/2020 — Fairfax County Public Schools Delays Return of Group 5 Cohort. Read the announcement.

11/17/2020 — Video: Update on COVID-19 in Our Community and Key Tips to Stay Healthy This Holiday Season. Watch the video.


11/17/2020 — Virginia Department of Health (VDH) Provides Information on Latest News About Approach to Vaccines in the Commonwealth. Visit the web page.

11/17/2020 — Governor Northam Announces New Statewide Measures to Contain COVID-19. Read the new measures.


11/17/2020 — National Institutes of Health (NIH) Reports Promising Interim Results from Clinical Trial of NIH-Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. Read the findings.

11/17/2020 — CDC Answers Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination. Read the information.

Bulletin Board
Cornerstones Needs Your Help This Week!

Cornerstones is hard at work to ensure all Northern Virginians can feed their families this holiday, but they need your help! They are seeking local volunteers to help sort food at the community collection site, St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Reston, and distribute food boxes to local community locations. To learn more and volunteer, contact Susan Alger at
Governor Northam Announces New Statewide Measures
to Contain COVID-19
Governor Northam shared a new video to update Virginians on the additional steps the Commonwealth is taking to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which is available here. More information is at Governor's announcement.
Become a Member of the Reston Accessibility Committee
RAC welcomes new members. Your membership will help RAC's outreach within Reston and recognition of RAC in the community. The following four membership categories make it possible for a wide range of people to join RAC's advocacy efforts.
  • Active (participation in bi-monthly meetings and projects)
  • Auxiliary (available for occasional tasks)
  • Supporting (cash and in-kind contributions)
  • Advisory (shares specific professional experience and advice that can advance RAC projects)
What can I do? Civic Involvement
Protect Yourself and Others from COVID-19
For more information, visit Safe Thanksgiving
Calendar of Events
Wednesday and Thursday, November 18 and 19, 7:00 p.m., Virtual Community Meetings on Centreville, Chantilly, Vienna and Tysons Fairfax Connector Bus Service Improvements. Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) seeks your input on how to improve local bus service provided by Fairfax Connector in the Centreville, Chantilly, Vienna and Tysons areas. To register for one of these meetings, visit Connector.

Wednesday, November 18, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., Virtual public information meeting on I-495 American Legion Bridge Transit & Transportation Demand Management Study and I-495 Express Lanes Northern Extension Project. Virginia's Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), in partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will provide information and answer questions about Virginia and Maryland's effort underway to study multimodal transportation options aimed to reduce congestion, improve trip reliability and regional connections, and enhance existing and planned multimodal mobility and connectivity on I-495 and the American Legion Bridge. Join the meeting directly through Webex by using this link. If joining through, use meeting number (access code): 178 792 0785 and event password: rEbyC2Cc7J5. Learn more about the project here, where you can also find a link to provide feedback.

Thursday, November 19, 2:15 to 3:30 p.m., Meet the Artists with Beverly Cosham and Friends, at Reston Community Center Hunters Woods, Community Room. Free, open to all ages, but registration required. Due to COVID-19, social-distancing measures, masks and advance registration will be required. These performances will be livestreamed on the Reston Community Center Facebook page. More information is at RCC Events.

Saturday, November 21, noon to 4:00 p.m., Town of Vienna Shop & Stroll, at Jades Shopping Center and Vienna Plaza. More information is at Shop & Stroll.

Friday, November 27, Canceled: Reston Holiday Parade & Tree Lighting. For the health and safety of our community, Reston Town Center will be canceling the annual Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting event.

Monday, November 30, 6:00 p.m., Vienna Church Street Holiday Stroll goes virtual this year. Viewers may tune into festivities either via Facebook Live or YouTube Live @townofviennava. As per usual, even during unusual times, there will be a traditional tree lighting, local performers, and a special message from Santa and Mayor Linda Colbert.

Tuesday, December 8, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu will be Vienna Town Manager Mercury Payton's guest at the next "On Deck with Mercury" community conversation. She will address questions about the current state of the coronavirus pandemic in the region. A limited number of residents may attend this event in person at Town Hall; in-person attendance is limited to 20 individuals. If interested in attending, sign up here. This event also may be attended via Zoom. The conversation will be recorded for later broadcast on TVCN.