A Time to Speak — What will the history books write?

To the Editor:

What will people learn from us when the history books are written about the Pandemic of 2020? Will there be condemnation for how we messed everything up, or will there be praise for a job well done, under extremely trying circumstances?

I hope they learn about a time when people put aside their differences and joined forces to help those in need. I hope they read about a time when people discovered what was truly important in life and worked hard to protect those things, which it turned out, weren’t actually “things” at all. I hope they learn about a global community who came together to wage war on a horrible virus, the invisible enemy, and helped one another find a cure and took care of each other’s sick and dying.

I hope when the history books show photos from the 2020 Pandemic of grocery stores with empty toilet paper shelves, classrooms with no students, and rows of patients on ventilators, they also include photos of communities bringing groceries to the elderly, families spending quality time together, and people rediscovering how time outdoors helped brighten their darkest days.

There will certainly be mention of all the churches forced to close their doors but, hopefully, the history books will also recount how so many people turned back to God and began to pray again, realizing church was not a building, but rather a people united in faith.

The history books will undoubtedly report on the economic suffering caused from an immense amount of closings and layoffs but, hopefully, they will also describe how everyone reached out to help one another during those trying times and that once the public health crisis was over, the economy not only recovered, but improved, because people became more fiscally responsible and aware of the impact they have through their purchase decisions.

The history books will rightfully praise the selfless medical professionals and first-responders who worked tirelessly on the front lines and were true heroes, but I hope they also mention the communities who joined in solidarity to embrace social distancing because the sacrifice was important for the greater good, in order to flatten the curve, and how those decisions saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Most of all, I hope when the history books are written, they describe 2020’s Pandemic as truly being a turning point in history. The time when humankind hit the reset button and became a more tolerant and compassionate world community. The time when the entire world was forced to slow down but found out the slower pace was actually a gift, rather than a punishment. The time when people were so incredibly grateful to finally return to school, work, and play, that they vowed never to forget those dark days or take the freedoms they enjoyed for granted. Finally, when all of this is over, I hope the history books recall the respect and dignity that became a new way of life in 2020, because we never again took for granted the simple pleasure of a handshake or a warm embrace, and it changed the world for the better … forever.

Michelle Walters
Louisville

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