I’m not sure many around the world would disagree that the year 2020 will be one year which we all can’t wait to see the curtain close. The misery it has brought to citizens here and abroad has been devastating, both in the cost of lives and economically.
When the year began, I am sure we had a President here in the U.S. who believed his path to a second four-year term in office would have been a cakewalk. Unemployment was down and the stock market was soaring, both serving as positive indicators regarding the future outlook for any political figure.
Democrats would be embarrassed as the story line continued to unfold regarding a fake Russian dossier and the misuse of the nation’s highest law enforcement agency. All of this had been the fodder of mainstream media outlets and consumed the first three years of this Presidency, the unfortunate legacy of a political atmosphere which has grown poisonous over the last decade or more.
The adage “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” couldn’t have proven more wrong as the days passed, for out of the East came a Pandemic, the likes of which our generation has yet to experience, as well as the challenges it presented to us.
We may, however, be seeing the “light at the end of the tunnel,” due to the miraculous speed by which vaccines to fight this virus may successfully have been created, which should bring this terrible disease under control.
We can only continue to pray that the news of this vaccine is accurate and there will be minimal issues from its use, as we continue on track for the speedy distribution of these much-needed drugs.
A positive note during this terrible time has been in the response to those in need. I cannot begin to imagine the impact that this terrible event might have wrought upon our citizens, had it not been for those that committed themselves to fight this invisible enemy on the frontlines, battling courageously every day to save lives.
From those first responders who would be immediately on scene to interact with those who lay ill at home with their families. The law enforcement officers, EMS and firefighters. The nurses and doctors in the ER’s across the nation, all of whom put their lives on the line every day, while fearing they might be bringing home the deadly disease, despite the many precautions being taken to prevent that.
To those professionals in the intensive care units, respiratory therapists and to those health care professionals within nursing homes, all the time seeking to provide the most thoughtful care and consideration of both the patient and their families who were separated from those they loved and missed so much.
We must also think about those who responded to the needs of the many who were victims of the closings of small and large businesses due to the economic impact which the virus has caused in communities around the nation.
We must never forget our teachers and staff that responded to the needs of their students and parents during these uncertain times. They would continue to create a learning environment for the children and help with their feelings of helplessness and isolation.
The many churches and civic organizations that responded to the needs within our communities to help feed and provide assistance. I’ve mentioned them before, but their extraordinary service to others’ needs continue to be recognized. Here in our own community, we see the contributions made by our churches as well as organizations such as Our Daily Bread Food Pantry, the Island Country Club Foundation, the Mobile Food Pantry, The Joy of Giving, the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs, the efforts of St. Vincent DePaul, the Bargain Basket, the United Way, Christmas Island Style and the Greater Marco YMCA. These are just some of the many organizations responding to the needs within our community as we continue to do more for those impacted by the virus and its far-reaching effects.
In 2020, we stood up and confronted this exceptional challenge and helped to make the suffering and challenges so much more manageable for so many.
Regardless, too many lives were lost, and we must dedicate every waking hour to evaluating how we reacted to this terrible test of our institutional systems and governmental responses. We should dedicate ourselves to not finding blame but building appropriate defenses and responses against such encounters in the future.
We must move forward and learn from our missteps if we are to prevent this same type of event from reoccurring during our lifetime and in the future. We owe future generations to do this without fail, and my hope is that 2021 will put us on that pathway to a successful and prudent review of what we can do better as we plan for our future and those of our grandchildren yet to be born.