On June 6, 1944, 73,000 American soldiers landed on the Normandy beaches in France, Americans of all races, creeds, occupations, political views, ages, sizes, and shapes. They were as diverse as America is today, but they landed as one force, on one mission, all doing their part to protect each other and protect us. They demonstrated uncommon heroism and sacrifice, and their collective actions stand as one of the great monuments to the selfless American spirit, a spirit that cares not just for our friends and brothers but also strangers who are in need of help.
Sadly it was the last day on Earth for 2,501 of those soldiers, remembered by 2,501 crosses in the cemetery above Omaha Beach. They seem to go on forever, and no American can visit there without tears. I know I couldn’t.
Fast forward 76 years. We have lost 250,000 Americans to COVID-19 since the pandemic started. The same number of Americans have died as if we had landed at Normandy beach one hundred times. One Normandy every two and a half days….one Normandy every 60 hours. At the end of this week we’ll have buried enough people for another Normandy…and then another…and another…and on and on and on.
How is this happening? Would we tolerate it if America sent 2,501 soldiers to die on a foreign beach every few days? Wouldn’t we do everything in our power to protect them? As a nation wouldn’t we do whatever we could to save those American soldiers?
Large numbers of Americans are dying each day. The cause of death is COVID-19, but we are also dying from political divisions, dying from social divisions, dying from being misled, dying from ignoring facts and science and common sense,
dying because we are putting ourselves first and not caring for each other. The greatest tragedy is that we are being killed not by a foreign enemy, but by other Americans. Americans who are our friends, our family, our co-workers, even complete strangers…Americans carrying COVID-19. We are literally killing each other, and we don’t seem to care enough to stop doing it.
One Normandy every 60 hours. COVID-19 is out of control. This is not a political statement, it’s not a religious statement, and it is not up for debate. It’s a fact. One Normandy every 60 hours. Americans are dying in droves each day. One Normandy every 60 hours. Dying because we are not pulling together like Americans have done since Valley Forge, since New Orleans, since Gettysburg, since the Ardennes, since Normandy, pulling together to fight our enemies and protect our country.
So let’s step back and remember what makes us Americans. Being kind to our brothers and sisters and strangers. Reaching out to those who need it, no matter the color of their skin or the color of their politics. Sacrificing for each other when we are facing a common enemy and doing whatever it takes to defeat that enemy. We do that without thinking of ourselves, or our “freedoms”, or our personal preferences, or our politics. We just help each other.
But we are not doing that with COVID-19. We. Are. Not. Acting. Like. Americans.
We know better than this, and we are better than this. Americans protect each other and fight for each other. Ask yourself the question, if I, or someone in my family, or a close friend had COVID-19 what would I do to protect my family and my coworkers and strangers who are also Americans?
You’d educate yourself. You’d google everything you could and learn about how to fight the disease. Then you would do those things.
You’d wear a mask. So just do it now. It’s not about personal freedom, it’s not about choice, it’s not about politics…it’s about taking care of each other. If you feel it’s a sacrifice then make the sacrifice. That’s what Americans do.
You’d keep your social distance and stay out of large gatherings. So just do that, too. It’s not about government overreach, or wanting to live a normal life, or admitting the disease is real… it’s about taking care of each other. That’s what Americans do.
You’d get tested when you have the chance. So if you can, get tested. It’s not about intrusive bureaucracy, or privacy, or inconvenience. It’s about taking care of each other. That’s what Americans do.
You would do everything you could to beat the disease, everything you could to protect your family and friends and fellow citizens. And you wouldn’t argue with others about whether COVID-19 was real, or whether it was just like the flu, or whether it’s a plot to control us with fear. You’d fight like hell to stop it. Because that’s what Americans do.
America is in the fight of our lives. Not Republicans, not Democrats, not urban dwellers, not country people, not rich, not poor, not Muslims or Jews or Catholics or atheists, not Blacks or Whites or Browns, or any of the other labels we put on each other. Americans are in this fight, and Americans do what it takes to beat our enemies. Let’s remember who we are, that we are better than this, better than the arguments we are having, better than the divisiveness we are showing, better than a Normandy every 60 hours.
We’re Americans. Let’s show each other that we know what that means and fight like hell to stop this disease.
Let’s do that. Now. Together. As Americans.
The opinions expressed represent the views of Tom Bugnitz and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Manufacturer’s Edge team and the Manufacturer’s Edge Board.