NEWCASTLE — The painful national experience of partial government shutdown reminded Americans that the federal government provides an immense array of services, including many that go uncelebrated, even unrecognized. The U.S. government is active across the length and breadth of this land, not simply inside the Washington Beltway.

Americans have also been reminded of how federal workers and government contractors are people like themselves, many of them living from one paycheck to the next. That Transportation Security Administration agent between you and your airport gate may be a parent who faces trouble putting food on the table without a paycheck reliably delivered. During the shutdown, Americans responded with acts of thoughtfulness and generosity; they came to the rescue of fellow citizens whose livelihoods had been disrupted.