Our View: This, too, shall pass | TheUnion.com

Our View: This, too, shall pass

The world had changed forever, at least for a 10-year-old child.

A layer of ice covered everything. The grass crunched with each step you took. The sand traps at a nearby golf course transformed into sledding spots while vehicles sat motionless in driveways, coated in frozen water.

This wasn’t the level of isolation and drastic change that we’re experiencing now because of the coronavirus. It was an ice storm that shut businesses and schools for a week before temperatures rose and the world — which, in fact, hadn’t changed forever — returned to normal.

We’ve all had moments like this throughout our lives, interruptions in our routines because of weather or personal tragedy or natural disaster.

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Let’s make sure our actions, regardless of how physically separated we are, help people who need it, not hurt them.

But have you had something as drastic as what we’re experiencing now?

Looking back, the answer is a big “No,” though we didn’t think so at the time. It took a microscopic virus spreading across the world to change our minds.

The gas rationing from the late 1970s stopped us in our tracks. Literally. On a 45-minute commute one day a 22-year-old woman pulled into a line for the gas station. You could only get gas every other day, depending on your license tag number, and she’d waited too long to fill up.

Then, sitting in line, the gas ran out. The woman enlisted help from those nearby to push her vehicle up an incline and to the pump.

Like all crises, the gas troubles moved on and the world returned to normal.

It was the same when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The unthinkable had occurred, and the nation buckled and swayed under the pressure of the president’s death.

You would have thought the nation could never recover. In a way, it never did. But, as usual, we moved on.

The Y2K bug, which proved in the end to have no bite, gave us a taste of current days.

People stocked up on supplies before midnight hit, and clocks tripped over into a new millennium. We feared the inability of computers to comprehend the end of the 20th century would cripple banks, financial transactions and life in general.

We bought our nonperishables, stocked up on prescriptions and ensured there was no shortage of coffee and booze. We prepared, and expected, the worst.

The reality proved lacking, but that is secondary. What’s important was the fear. That’s what motivated us.

Imagine the fear of someone right now who’s immunocompromised, or needs surgery. Just being in a hospital exposes them to the chance of getting the coronavirus. And in that state, infected with this new disease, they’d die.

That’s a fear we all have at some point, regardless of current circumstances.

You may not fall into that category. Maybe you don’t even know someone in it. But that doesn’t mean you’re not connected to someone who is, or that your actions can’t negatively affect that person.

Let’s make sure our actions, regardless of how physically separated we are, help people who need it, not hurt them.

The assassination of a president, a gas shortage, the Y2K panic — all these are viewed through the perfect lens of past events. We can laugh at ourselves now, or shake our heads at how foolish we were, or even wish we had taken some of these events more seriously.

We don’t know how long our routines will be upended because of the coronavirus. We’re not sure of the stability of our jobs, our income or our health.

But looking back, having experienced these events, we can take comfort in this when confronting our current troubles:

This, too, will pass.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.


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