After 9/11, Americans in every state rallied around our first responders. Today, with the coronavirus pandemic threatening the health and well-being of Americans in every state, our brave first responders and the nearly 5.3 million hospital workers across the country are again on the front lines, risking infection to themselves and their families.

But given the nature of this crisis, and the lockdown much of the country finds itself under — with many schools, retail stores, restaurants and bars dramatically scaling back their services or closing altogether — it occurs to us that there is a different kind of “first responder” coming to the aid of millions of Americans.

We’re talking about the Amazon, Grubhub, U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and other delivery drivers who come to our aid while we’re hunkered down in our homes.

We’re talking about the public transportation employees who everyday go to their jobs knowing that even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises against taking buses and trains if at all possible, many people have no other option.

We’re talking about all the workers who show up for work each morning, clean and disinfect city buses and trains, and take people where they need to go. We’re talking about all who work for DART Paratransit Service in Dallas, and other services like it across the country, who help people with disabilities get where they have to go, whether it be a doctor’s appointment or the home of a relative in need.

Yes, social distancing is something we should all practice to stop the spread of coronavirus. But we should also acknowledge and thank the first responders and health care professionals who don’t have that luxury. Likewise, those who make social distancing possible, by bringing us what we need to survive and getting us where we absolutely have to go, deserve our gratitude.

The above editorial was published March 24 by the Dallas Morning News. Its views are its own.

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