Virus: Get ready for our finest, and worst, hour

When someone references the psychologically shocking terms  “Pearl Harbor” and “9/11” to describe what is hurtling down the mountain toward us, our ears prick up like Doberman guard dogs.

Surgeon General Jerome Adams

Even more so when the speaker is the U.S. Surgeon General, the movie-star handsome Vice Admiral Jerome Adams, on Sunday’s “Meet The Press.”

He called on foot-dragging governors of eight states to get with the program and issue stay-at-home orders for their states, on the premise that the coronavirus does not respect state lines.

“The next week is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, it’s going to be our 9/11 moment, it’s going to be the hardest moment for many Americans in their entire lives,” he said. His warning echoed those from Dr. Anthony Fauci, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and even President Donald Trump, all of whom have pointed to the coming two weeks as the apex of infection, a period in which we can expect American  deaths to go ballistic. 

We are in a National Emergency, walking on trails we have never walked before. 

Adams was guilty of understatement in likening this to the Day of Infamy or the 9/11 attack on America’s largest city and America’s capital.

In each case, the attack lasted just hours. Each led to a war, but a war fought on foreign soil. 

This is World War III and it is being fought on home soil. 

A quick digression: Almost all health officials agree the eight holdout states should join the other 42 in lockdown, but if they don’t, they will perform a service. They will provide the evidence of what happens when you count on herd immunity, or wishful thinking, to protect citizens. 

It’s possible they are right. Not likely, but possible. We will find out. 

Back to the Pearl Harbor scenario. 

The only thing comparable to what we are facing now were the bombing of civilian populations during World War II, started by Spanish fascists and German Nazis. Civilians cowered in their homes, or bomb shelters if they had them, as death fell from the skies.

Now, we cower in our homes as death stalks the streets.

The only weapons we have are face masks and personal conduct, to be together, alone, as one hashtag puts it.

I keep busy by writing, watching and reading the news and fighting with people on Facebook. I go for an occasional walk wearing a facemask that steams my glasses, and get to Acme and CVS when needed.

I feel that is inadequate. My name is on a list maintained by my condo of people willing to run errands for neighbors, if needed. There were a lot of neighbors helping neighbors during World War II.

I’m not sure if my parents knew they were writing history during the war years, but certainly we are. There has been nothing like this in our nation’s history. 

There have been horrible moments, such as 9/11, and horrible periods, such as the Depression, but never a coincidence of the two, tied with a bow of self quarantine.

We are not necessarily brave to endure this because we have no choice, but the historians may decide otherwise.

When France collapsed, Prime Minister Winston Churchill declared Britain would fight on alone, knowing his nation would face the full fury of Nazi might. He knew what was coming, yet declared of his island people, this would be their finest hour. 

America has had many finest hours, moments when the lights were dimmed, when Americans had to fight in the dark, armed with faith in themselves, their democracy and (once upon a  time) in their faith.

As we climb the COVID-19 curve in April, remember to take the precautions of soap and solitary, and remember we have passed other tests.

This may be another finest hour, and probably the worst.

12 thoughts on “Virus: Get ready for our finest, and worst, hour”

  1. You couldn’t have stated it any better, Stu. And referencing Churchill’s “………finest hour” was a perfect analogy, though still feel like I’m dreaming.
    Thank you

    one day closer to getting “over the hump” !
    As you so expertly stated, we never saw this before. The world has never seen this before – except in Biblical Times. What are the possibilities that the earthlings will pay heed to a superior being ?
    The few states that have not issued shelter in place, etc restrictions are mostly country. Maybe they will be safe, but let’s not risk it.

  3. I never thought I would ever have to survive something like this, as my grandmother survived the 1918 flu epidemic as a 20 year old, but she married my grandfather 2 years later. My parents lived through WW 2, but married the year the war ended.

    So there is hope after the storm. We are in the storm, but it will pass over most of us.

  4. Dang, Stu, I think this is your finest hour of writing. Very well written and explained.

    Ultimately, it is a game of numbers. The percentages of those getting it, and those passing away from it, are very small compared to the whole (at least here in the US). But when you or your loved one contract this bug, it’s 100%. My 97 year old mother might just become another one of those statistics, unfortunately.

    1. Randy,
      sounds like your going down the old ” acceptable losses ” road. We lose thousands every year to the flu. violence gets us another thousands. drugs, cars,(Roosevelt Blvd), cycles………………………….
      acceptable losses ?

      1. Yeah, Tony, that sounds like the military way to explain the current situation, unfortunately. I didn’t mean for the word “game” to be taken literally, but, in an ideal world, no losses would be acceptable. Of course, when it happens close to you, it becomes much less acceptable, even as we’re dulled by the daily numbers and tally.

        1. Randy,
          We are mortal. We will eventually die and go on to our reward. I will never accept losses. True it’s a fact that things happen. I’m more concerned as to why things don’t happen . Why can we only cure 4 of the 20 – now – 21 flues. Soon there will be more strains of the existing flues. Same for cancer, heart problems, and the worst of all is concussions.
          A pharmacist told me the other day, that the reason for no cure of the flu is that it doesn’t pay . The cure cost more than the disease is another way of saying it. I suspected this to be true for a number of years. It’s all about the benjamim, baby !

  5. In the midst of the nightmare, an English lesson: the plural of ‘flu’ is ‘flus.’ ‘Flues’ are ducts for venting fumes. (I can’t help myself. It goes back to my days at Lower Merion High School and Miss Finnerty’s insistence of accuracy.)

    1. Vince,
      I tried using “flus” as plural. It diddn’t look right and spell check rejected it.
      You are correct with the definition of “Flues”. My formal training as a inspector clearly explained the difference between “B” & “L” flues. Then there are a host of other types of flues.
      I should have stayed with my original thought, as the Sisters would have said. (right before I’ld get hit in the back of the head with a grammar book )
      I do appreciate the check. Now, if I could learn how to spell Bykof………………..

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