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Voices / Letters from readers

The fight against COVID-19 is a war. It’s time to make sacrifices.

New travel restrictions for those living in Vermont and those wishing to travel to Vermont were announced on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

I think of my brother on Veterans Day, as well as Memorial Day, since he’s now gone. Often, I remember my mother as well, anxiously waiting for a letter from her son in Vietnam. There were no cell phones, no email, no FaceTime, no Zoom.

And that leads me to think of those men, many of whom were really boys, who left the safety of the United States nearly 80 years ago to fight a vicious war, World War II, against an evil enemy in order to ensure our right to freedom and democracy. At home, there was rationing, and everyone endured the scarcity.

But back to the travel restrictions.

Now we are being asked to make sacrifices as we come into the holiday season. We are being asked to not gather in large groups, to wear masks, to distance.

Yes, this will be difficult, even heartrending, for many, but have we forgotten what it was like for our country to be in a war?

Make no mistake — this is war. The enemy is invisible and stealthy, leading many to a false sense of safety, since not all who are infected get sick or show symptoms of disease.

Still, nearly a quarter million Americans have died by the enemy’s hand this year. More will surely die if we do not agree to make continued sacrifices.

There is a picture online of a family in 1918 during the terror of the Spanish flu. All are wearing masks — even the cat. Another photo from that time shows a person wearing a sign that says, “Wear a mask or go to jail.”

I know, the quarantine is getting old. Yes, it will be a shame if we can’t see family or friends this Thanksgiving — or even Christmas.

But when did we lose our empathy for each other? When did some of us decide that wearing a mask was just too much trouble? That a drink in a crowded bar was more important than the health of immunocompromised people and senior citizens? That a Halloween party — a Halloween party! — was a necessity?

Buck up, people — it’s going to be a long fight.

Beverly Langeveld

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Originally published in The Commons issue #588 (Wednesday, November 18, 2020). This story appeared on page C2.

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