I spent over twenty years in the military, 1974 to 1995. The Cold War was underway. The U.S. and U.S.S.R. and the allies of each were constantly ready to fight a war. Stationed in Germany for several years, we used to practice wearing our hazmat suits and gas masks, taking shelter as we were attacked. I did the same during war games in Korea and Egypt.
Wearing the suits and masks wasn’t fun. That experience rendered it much easier to wear masks during the pandemic. These masks over our mouths, attached to our ears, are much easier to wear.
I’ve just finished reading The Splendid and the Vile. This book by Erik Larson covers Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister. World War II had begun six months before. The London Blitz began that first year, 1940. The tales of deprivation are stunning. Larson uses multiple sources to weave a narrative not just about Churchill, England, and the Blitz, but about Hitler, Goering, Goebbels, Hess, FDR, and the many people around Churchill coping with him, helping Churchill, and hunting for the way forward.
Imagine those times in the United Kingdom as bombers flew overhead through the night skies, dropping incendiary devices, and then bombs, feeling the ground shake with violence as buildings were shredded and people were killed. Imagine being one of those people in London and other cities, enduring as food and tea was rationed, gas, electric, and water services were interrupted, fighting fires, worrying about unexploded bombs if you survived the raid, then going to work. Imagine sleeping in air raid shelters in squalid conditions. Imagine the black-out demands where lights were left off, forcing all to stumble through darkness.
And so many here, in 2021, complain about social distancing. They won’t wear a mask, because fake news. Freedom.
They know nothing. They should have been in London or any of the other cities around the world that experienced these conditions. Then maybe they’d realize what sacrifice means. A mask? Six feet apart?
Really. It is nothing.
Wear the mask. Stay positive. Test negative. Get the vax.