Coronavirus. It’s all we hear and see, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yes, it’s serious and we should treat it that way. For those of you who have contracted the disease or have loved ones that have – my heart goes out to you. For those of us that have, thus far, escaped the clutches of the virus, we have all of the social distancing, the stay-at-home orders, school closings, business closings, and other upheavals in our life, as necessary disruptions.
Our great nation has experienced major health crises before, and we most assuredly will again someday. Smallpox, yellow fever, cholera, scarlet fever, typhoid fever, diphtheria and the Spanish flu have all had significant impacts on lives and livelihoods throughout our country’s history – and we’ve eventually overcome every single one.
Over 3,000 Americans died from polio the year I was born, and I can still remember my mother fearing for me to go anywhere until a vaccine was developed. I also remember two of my classmates, who survived their contraction of the disease, but still live with a pronounced gait to this day. It was an American scientist who developed the vaccine and allowed generations of people to be spared.
Besides pandemic diseases, Americans have survived the Civil War, two World Wars, The Great Depression, conflicts across the globe, political scandals, civil unrest and a host of other tribulations that, at the time, many people must have thought, “We’ll never survive this struggle.” But we have, and the next generation will read about it in history books with nothing more than a shrug.
For more than 200 years, the world has looked to the United States of America for the solutions to disease, pestilence, conflict, famines and other seemingly insurmountable problems. Without fail, our nation has always answered the call. Why would the present predicament be any different?
Five years ago, Judy and I hosted an exchange student from Italy for one school-year. He lives in Milan, the epicenter of the worst coronavirus outbreak in the world at present. We talked to him last week and, so far, he and his parents and grandparents have been inside their homes for three weeks and have avoided the virus. When he stated, “I hope the Americans find a treatment or vaccine very, very soon, to help us and the rest of the world,” it really hit home how much the world relies on American ingenuity. I have no doubt that we will answer this call as well.
In the meantime, I’m holed up, here on the farm, feeling extremely fortunate that the only thing I’m worried about catching is a stray hoof or horn from an over-protective cow. Every day, I wake up thinking about what my mother always said, anytime I confided to her about facing some seemingly impossible obstacle, “This too, shall pass.”
It always did – and so will this.