(Editor’s Note: This letter was sent in by a reader, detailing some of what they have seen in local communities as all have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic; with a message of hope and perseverance, we have made the decision to share it as written.)
We see you. We see you with all your strength, sneakiness, and devastation. We see you picking off our weak and defenseless, and occasionally robbing us of our strong. We see you creating chaos, panic, and fear. We see you.
But what you don’t see is us. You don’t see the small business that had to close up shop, but instead of fighting for themselves, they create and sell T-shirts “In This Together” to give 100 percent of the proceeds to other small shops who are fighting to stay afloat. You don’t see the man who volunteers to buy a small package of toilet paper for a woman in line because she can’t buy two when all she’s doing is helping her brother-in-law who has been off work for two weeks with his wife and four children at home. You don’t see the neighbors who are trading eggs for bread, and disinfection wipes for bananas to help each other out. You don’t see the local pizza shop who is delivering free pizza every day to the elderly and immunocompromised since we are keeping them safe from you. You don’t see the nurse, who against all protocol, takes off her gloves to hold an 82-year-old woman’s hand as she dies of cancer so she doesn’t have to be alone, because human decency trumps your protocol every time. What you don’t see is that same nurse removing all the suffocating PPE after a 24-hour shift and completely decontaminating herself before walking into her home, hugging her husband, tucking her three boys into bed, crying herself to sleep, and getting up the next day to do it all again.
What you don’t see is that we are a nation that rallies together in difficult times. We rise from wars, depressions, stock market crashes, bombings, terrorist attacks, and wild fires. We rise from the ashes of loss and devastation stronger, braver, and better. We rise united, rallying together to give all we can to those who lost. We rise to comfort. We rise to rebuild. We rise to overcome. We rise to celebrate. You, Mr. COVID-19, have poked a sleeping lion, and when the time is right, it will rise with a fierceness you have never seen before, because we are America, and God Bless America.
The UNITED States Of America