These are the strangest of times and a time of learning. My parents endured the Great Depression and the Second World War which stretched into Korea. Generations followed up with Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and the beat goes on. All of us during these life interruptions clung to a belief that we can provide a better life for our children, all children. Many have risked our lives for that belief. Our heroes often wear uniforms and wage war almost single handedly so others may live. In both truth and fiction the hero is often a lone figure with some lesser help from others. I recall a specific instance where an everyday citizen acted heroically although I am sure there are many more. An incident caught national media attention when an airplane crashed into the Potomac River in Washington. A person saw the crash, dove into the icy cold water and helped pull people to safety. When asked why he replied essentially, so I wouldn’t have to ask myself why I didn’t. Few are called upon for such heroic action but most of us want to believe we would do the same.
Police officers and firemen and women risked their lives and many lost their lives during 9/11. In more recent times we learn of Special Forces soldiers and Seal Teams performing unimaginable rescues. As trying as these prior times were, the present days are trying but different. It seems risk takers, those doing the helping are different in these times. This terrible virus, this pandemic, means we need to all be helping and being helped. Our heroes today don’t carry M-16’s or wear military uniforms and travel to foreign countries. Those willing to help today wear scrubs and work in our hospitals and emergency services. Others work in our grocery stores and make deliveries. Some prepare take out foods and some keep our public services running including police and fire. Many of us can’t go to work, don’t travel far from home and limit our personal contacts to close family. Worries are magnified due to loss of loved ones, sickness due to this virus and naturally loss of income. What do we do and how do we cope? We try not to worsen the situation for ourselves or others. This disease is extremely contagious. I can catch it from you, I can give it to you, you can give it to others and others can die and are dying daily. My job, our job, now is to minimize the ability of this disease to spread. We follow concepts like “shelter in place” and “social distancing.” Much of our social/business interaction is electronic through such concepts as Zoom. Our everyday heroes exist in everyday jobs coping, surviving in this uncertainty. Is this the world we leave our children? A world filled with uncertainty in attending school, playing sports, gathering in the library even get togethers with friends. Uncertainty can lead to the belief we are powerless which descends into despair and loss of hope. Without hope we, our children and our nation are done.
Our leaders at all levels must provide truthful information reinforced by scientific studies. These are indeed difficult times for us all young and old, middle aged workers not working, rich and poor. This stress in our lives can create a selfish attitude of looking out for number one, for me. I’m going where I please, that seems to be the imperative, a mandate we all must follow because some of us want it that way. Some say I don’t need a mask or a physical separation and you don’t either. Succumbing to this false sense of superiority is not what we need nor who we are. Difficulty is enduring pain, it may be physical, mental, economic or others but enduring together, helping together is the path that gets us to safety. A safety different from what we knew but one that gets us through these times. Certainty and hope can be reclaimed for our survival and so that our children can hope again. Showing concern for others will trickle down and up.