Rosie the riveter - We can do it!

Let’s Fight it Together

David Gillett, Maj Gen, USAF (Ret) – Executive Producer

I grew up in San Antonio, Texas. I went to Texas A&M, majoring in Zoology. No wonder I went in the Air Force and spent 34 years in aircraft maintenance and Logistics. We were a military family all the way. My son is a Marine and my daughter works as an Air Force Civilian in the Pentagon. My wife of 40 years died suddenly three years ago of a lung disease. So I have watched with interest as the CORONAVIRUS pandemic has developed.

I am a student of history and have read about the 1918 Influenza “Spanish Flu”.  That pandemic killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide in a time when the world population was only 1.4 billion. It occurred in the midst of World War I. It most likely started when the virus jumped from pigs to humans in a small town in Kansas. Then recruits from that town were drafted and spread the virus within the military and eventually the civilian population worldwide.

Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with Spanish flu at a hospital ward at Camp Funston, circa 1918.
Soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, ill with Spanish flu at a hospital ward at Camp Funston, circa 1918

The similarities between that pandemic and the current one are striking. We have advanced significantly in the medical field but many of the same strategies they used to fight the disease still apply today. For example, sheltering in place, isolation, and wearing masks.

Man wearing a mask along with an appeal to do it out of patriotism
Even in 1918, men felt wearing masks intruded on their civil liberties. But stronger men viewed this measure in the fight against an unseen enemy as a patriotic duty, steeped in discipline and personal responsibility.

I have been concerned and puzzled at the resistance to wearing masks. I see protests and daily commercial airline flights divert because people don’t want to wear a mask. Last weekend I saw large gatherings of people at a motorcycle rally, few wearing a mask. I certainly agree that we need to protect individuals rights. But along with those rights come responsibly. I don’t want to be preachy but I have a struggle understanding how wearing a mask is onerous that we will take the chance of exposing your family and community to a deadly disease, rather than wear a mask. This virus is like a murderer at your front door. Would you welcome that murderer into your home, or would you get a gun and defend yourself?  Or think of it as a terrorist on an airliner. Many of you believe the virus is a hoax. I ask you to consider whether you are wrong. For my part, all the evidence is there to see. It’s real and it is a naturally occurring, but rare event (a 100 year event).

Refrigerated trucks in New York City that served as morgues during the pandemic
The Statue of Liberty is visible behind refrigeration trucks that functioned as temporary morgues at New York City’s South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. These trucks, filled with up to 90 people apiece, stood as a reminder that this virus is a killer, and precautions must be taken to mitigate its spread beyond capability of hospitals to care for those with serious illness. (NPR: Reckoning With The Dead: Journalist Goes Inside An NYC COVID-19 Disaster Morgue, Noam Galai/Getty Images)

Let’s fight it together. Because this virus does not care whether you believe or not. The virus doesn’t care about your party affiliation. The only way to get our lives back, and get our economy back,  is if we work as responsible citizens to defeat the murderer at the door. I plead with you to respect social distancing, and wear masks for the sake of your own health, your family, the economy, and the community. If we can do work together to defeat this virus, we can get back to “politics as usual”  sooner.  But for now, think of your family, your community, and your country and do what is necessary for the good of all.

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Further reading

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