Many of the events from the past year we’ll remember forever are memorable for their negative impact. But the people we’ll remember? Most who really stand out are memorable for their capacity to care for others.
No one knew 10 months ago how we would respond to something like a pandemic. Our points of reference were history books and disaster movies. True, many responded in ways that fall far short of the rise-to-the-occasion examples we read about or watch on the big screen or our phones. But far more people fulfilled the roles we all needed them to, with no expectation of reward. For all the harm that 2020 will be remembered for, all its destruction, it’s provided examples of real selflessness.
As we move through the remaining months of winter and beyond, we should recognize and remember the work and sacrifices of those who’ve been there for us all along. The nurses, doctors and other medical personnel on the front lines of the pandemic; police, firefighters and other first responders; the people stocking the shelves and staffing the check-out lanes of our grocery stores; nonprofit organizations and their individual volunteers and donors, who’ve led efforts to support those hit hardest by 2020’s economic hardships; and too many others to list here, including those whose work is less visible but vital nonetheless.
Development of coronavirus vaccines has placed hope for a recovery on the horizon, but the impacts of the past 10 months still linger and the months ahead remain more uncertain than we’d hoped. Moving on from 2020 will take more than simply tearing a page from the calendar, much as we’d like it to be that simple.
But we can move forward. In doing so, it’s important we continue to follow public health guidance aimed at keeping ourselves and those around us safe. Local hospitals, after experiencing rising virus cases, saw those numbers begin to decline recently. It’s a trend we should all be focused on helping continue. Wear a face covering in public, practice social distancing and take other precautions recommended by the health care community. The goal for the coming months must be working together to get this behind us.
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Our local small businesses, especially hard-hit by the lockdowns, could very much use all our assistance. They’ve borne the brunt of the public health orders and continue to face uncertainty as restrictions on their operations continue.
We always encourage here supporting local businesses, but there’s an urgency now to this request. Though our local business community has shown remarkable resilience since March, there are tough weeks and months remaining. Every dollar spent with a local business helps form a needed lifeline.
One step, maybe one vaccine at a time, we will find ourselves in a better spot — past, hopefully, the threat of the virus to people’s health and past its economic toll. Kids will be back in school, we’ll see the return of things we’re passionate about like the arts and local athletics. Roswell’s signature events will thrive again.
Along the way, we can rely on our lived experiences, things we’ve seen, lessons learned. Yes, 2020 has been historically bad. But it’s provided insight into how history becomes just that: A series of events that people survive, and through great effort, overcome. Something that is, eventually, put in the rearview mirror, often thanks to people who put the fate of others ahead of their own wellbeing or interests.
Look to them. They’ve provided us all a template, not only for whatever remains of the pandemic but also for the better times that lie beyond it.
John Dilmore is editor of the Roswell Daily Record. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The views expressed in this column are those of the author.