We celebrated Memorial Day this past long weekend and it was not much of one. We are in crisis, staying home and with very little appetite for partying.
The irony is that we are at war and the holiday honors all Americans that have died in war. It is ironic because those that have died in the front-lines of this war are not necessarily the women and men of our armed forces.
It is an asynchronous war against a disease that involves everyone and no rules. It is better that Memorial Day this year be more to recognize the dead that are around 100,000 in the United States and the heroes that risk their very lives on the front-lines of service in every field.
This conflict with the Coronavirus represents another take on “total war,” a theory that was best exemplified by General Sherman in the American Civil War. It was also used by the allies bombing campaign in World War II Europe.
When Japan attacked the United States to cause our country to enter World War II, we were surprised and unprepared but not totally. President Roosevelt had the foresight to begin war-time production early to at least supply friends that eventually became allies.
Within a very short time, our soldiers, sailors and marines were well equipped to fight and win on two fronts. It is a tragedy that we cannot say the same thing about our medical, first responders and service personnel in this war against the Coronavirus.
Early on, President Trump chose to minimize the threat and then essentially washed his hands of an effective response, leaving it to the state governors to take on the task of defending the country. Led by 50 governors and whatever support they can garner from the federal government, the struggle is still on to obtain medical masks, clothing and other needed medical and testing gear for those at risk.
The folks on the front lines are sometimes having to go without the proper equiptment or support because of the absence of national leadership. Not only that, the effort to fulfill its political agenda has taken the Trump administration to the extreme position of also making war on state and local governments.
Like World War II, for many of the states, the battle is on two fronts. One is the virus as it spreads throughout the country and the other, is the President that is intent on opening the economy to normal levels regardless of how many thousands more die as a result.
It is a presidential election year and there is a definite struggle between politics and science. It is jobs and Wall Street needlessly pitted against the sick and dying and those looking after them.
Taking sides has become the fashion of the day. There appears to be little in the way of common sense and the understanding that our medical tribulations are intimately tied to economic outcomes.
So, Memorial Day this year has to honor those that have and are putting up the good fight against a pandemic with no rules, territory or nationality. It is an enemy that kills and terrorizes those it does not.
Our heroes are those that are facing it and sometimes dying to save lives. Let us find a way to honor them in the same way we honor the dead in our many wars across our history.
Let us take this week to wish God speed to the fallen. May they be blessed.