Response to Coronavirus: Is this our finest hour?
Charles Dickens opened his novel A Tale of Two Cities with this line: "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity."
For most Americans in January of 2020, it was the "best of times." But, as we moved into February, it began to be the "worst of times." Now, it is April and we are witnessing horrendous death numbers in the New York City metro area and in other densely populated cities.
But another saying tells us, "It is always darkest before the dawn." While that saying may be of cold comfort to the families who are losing loved ones to the darkness of the Red Chinese Coronavirus, the latest statistical projections indicate we are almost over the "worst of times."
The reason we are almost over the worst of times is because so many Americans responded to the call to practice social distancing, extra hand-washing, muffle coughs and sneezing, and reduce travel to the essential minimum. Heroes abound from the doctors, nurses and other front-line health professionals all the way to the everyday Americans who altered their way of living in the cause of preventing an unmitigated disaster.
Indeed, the responses of most Americans have been Churchillian. Their responses bring to mind his words, "But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science." Could Churchill have foreseen bio-warfare?
But not every American joined the "band of brothers." who are putting down this vile plague. As Henry V said on the eve of the Battle of Agincourt: "For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother, be he ne’er so vile, [a commoner] this day shall gentle his condition," [making him a noble] "And gentlemen in England now abed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here."
While some Americans alive today experienced the Great Depression, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf Wars and 9/11, more recent generations have not suffered any real hardships nor have they had the opportunity to do something heroic.
We are likely still 18 months away from a Red Chinese Coronavirus vaccine. For any who have yet to join the "band of brothers," there is still time to become heroic.
Indeed, maybe those who seek solace in marijuana and illegal drugs are the manifestation of Henry David Thoreau’s statement: "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation." Yet the "worst of times" can bring out the best in human nature and we are seeing many young people committing innumerable acts of kindness by taking meals to seniors, helping with child care, raising money, making face masks, fostering shelter animals, the list goes and on.
When we defeat this vile plague, as defeat it we must, it may well be that historians will borrow from Churchill and say, "This was our finest hour."
Breaking news: There is mounting evidence that Hydroxychloraquine in combination with zinc and, where warranted, azithromycin are effective against the Red Chinese Coronavirus.
©2020. William Hamilton.
William Hamilton is a laureate of the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame, the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame, the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame, the Colorado Aviation Hall of Fame, and the Oklahoma University Army ROTC Wall of Fame. Dr. Hamilton’s latest book: Formula for Failure in Vietnam: The Folly of Limited Warfare can be ordered toll free at: (800) 253-2187 Or, go to Amazon.com.