As I write this, a familiar quote comes to mind, as our special holiday continues to grow closer for us all, both here and around the world. “Time and the tide waits for no man,” continues to come to mind as I think about the challenges we’ve seen over this last year and our responsibilities as Christians to rise above those challenges and overcome some of the most daunting tasks that lay before us as Americans.
Let us put aside the hatred of partisan politics and think about the wonderful accomplishments made by American and international pharmaceutical companies to meet the challenge of finding a suitable vaccine to combat the ravages of the virus that has spread around the world in these last nine months. We appear to be accomplishing the unimaginable as we stand ready to begin the distribution phase for just such a drug, this after many condemned an American President for this belief that just such an undertaking could be accomplished in such a short time.
No, our President wasn’t the one responsible for standing in a lab or working on various chemical formulations or laboring to determine the make-up of the virus. He did, however, challenge those with the capabilities to do so, making it happen in record time, if in fact those reports of successes in our labs and within pharmaceutical companies are accurate. President John F. Kennedy challenged NASA and its scientist to do the same by tasking American greatness with the goal of going to the moon by the end of the decade in a speech given on May 25, 1961. We did so on July 20, 1969, accomplishing JFK’s dream, but not before his passing.
The Kennedy challenge came about due to the fear of the Soviet Union’s potential for gaining a military advantage in space, then a great fear of all Americans during the Cold War. Trump’s challenge dealt with the fear of an unseen and deadly virus which had the potential of killing millions throughout the world and devastating the worldwide economies of all nations. A fate similar to that of the devastation feared by President Kennedy of another World War, but this time with nuclear ramifications.
The truth about the origins of this virus, our responses to it during the early days of its discovery and how it was handled will take years to be determined. Only time allows a clearer vision of the past that is not clouded by personal agendas of the present and politics. Time allows us the ability to make a much clearer evaluation of those responses as we seek to be better prepared for the future
Time has never been on our side with this latest challenge to face our nation and all those around the world. Every second, every hour and every day has seen the loss of so many innocents and the most vulnerable of our citizenry. First-Responders, health care professionals and the elderly all have been frontline victims of this invisible enemy. It would attack without regard to one’s age, nationality, race or political affiliation.
The distribution of this vaccine will prove to be as much a challenge as its development. I am greatly confident in the planning for it, as it is being designed and implemented utilizing many of the aspects of a military operation. One might only think back to the great success of the Berlin Airlift which was begun in June of 1948 when the Soviet Union blocked all land-based travel to the two million innocent citizens in West Berlin.
The coordinated efforts between the Department of Defense, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, plus private agencies and commercial air carriers will provide one of the most massive efforts ever undertaken to meet the challenges to ensure the vaccine is distributed throughout the nation.
Yes, it’s easy to sit on the sidelines and take cheap shots. It is harder to provide valued input that is constructive in nature that will ensure we move forward to control this scourge to all segments of our population.
Like the vast majority of Americans, I will pray for the success not only of the vaccine, but in the success regarding the distribution of it. I also pray for the day that not one additional life is lost due to this terrible virus and those professionals who have been on the frontlines fighting this epidemic.
However, I am also aware that blame, demonstrations and political bickering will not halt the advance of this terrible disease. Instead, the soldiers in this fight wear gowns, masks and work in labs and wear hazmat suits around the clock to provide us with a way out of this. We owe you all a huge debt of gratitude. “For time waits for no man.”