Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Lessons of the Churchill War Rooms

 
A little less than four years ago, my children, to celebrate my 70th Birthday, took me on a one week trip to London. Of all the many memorable things about the trip, the one thing that stood out the most, and has remained etched in my memory, was our 4 hour visit to the Churchill War Rooms.
For those who have never visited, or heard of this site, during the entire duration of WW 2. the British government had to function in an underground bunker because of the relentless bombing London was subject to by the Nazis. The British Prime Minister and key military officials basically lived underground for five years, while the rest of the citizens of London and other British cities had to survive constant aerial attacks that made normal life impossible
In this setting, heroism became a way of life. There was no escape from the danger. But people had to try to go to work and raise their families amidst the constant threat that an explosion could hit their homes, their schools, their factories, their stores, their houses of worship In these circumstances, if the vast majority of Britons were not willing to make incredible sacrifices, the society would have collapsed and the government would have been forced to surrender to the Nazis
We face a similar scenario with the Corona Virus. During the next 18 months to two years, we will be a society at war, not with a foreign enemy, but a deadly virus. No one will be exempt. Not our top government officials, not our business leaders, not our professional athletes. But it is ordinary people, along with medical personnel, who will bear the Bronx of this. They will have to face danger to go to work, keep our medical system and food chain going, and take care of their families. Many will get sick. Some will die. And everyone will have to live differently
This is not something most people in this country ever thought would happen. But the crisis is here, and it is not going away. How are we going to conduct ourselves. We we act in accordance of out best values, and take care of our most vulnerable people, or will surrender to selfishness?
The future of this nation is at stake. Great Briton survived the Blitz. We can survive the Pandemic, but only if we become our own heroes.