To the Editor;
As this pandemic proceeds on its destructive course, I am regularly reminded of some lessons from World War II, which I only know from the retelling. I am also bemused (and frustrated) by the various hysteria, denial and demands from certain groups who demonstrate an irrational rejection of science and evidence, or view requests to act responsibly in a crisis as a violation of their rights. I wonder how such anti-social attitudes and behaviours would have been reacted to by those living back then. Yes, this is difficult and ongoing, but the generation of World War II suffered through six long years of greater, though different, privations and dangers, and that had been preceded by 10 years of dreary economic depression, the deepest in the modern industrial world. For those of us who have not been touched by death, illness or lost employment or small business, this is mostly a frustratingly tedious inconvenience.
But there are reflections from the past that can throw some light on our present. A popular song of the time “There’s a Bluebird on Your Windowsill” was written by a nurse who worked in a TB hospital during the Great Depression. But instead of the death and depression that surrounded her, she could also see bluebirds on windowsills and rainbows in the sky. Maybe some of us ought to do the same. And maybe some of us, now seeing the vaccine on the horizon, can perhaps feel as Churchill expressed in 1942 that this “… is not the end. It may not be the beginning of the end, but it is perhaps the end of the beginning.” And in that light a wartime song by Vera Lynn also looks forward with hope to:
“… When the lights go on again all over the world,
Then we’ll have time for things like wedding rings and free hearts will sing ….”
And as we perceive the light of hope getting closer, instead of being impatient we can continue to “Keep Calm and Carry On,” responsibly.
This will end, but an ending better than it might have been is up to us.