Seventy-nine years ago today the Japanese Navy attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbour in Honolulu, Hawaii, bringing the United States into active participation in World War II. 2,403 men and women lost their lives that day, and another 1,178 were wounded. A horrific loss of life to be sure, but why is it when we hear that number we are horrified, and yet as many people are dying of a deadly pandemic every day, yet few even take notice?
The average person in 1941 was powerless to stop the attack on Pearl Harbour, but each and every one of us have the power to help stop the spread of the coronavirus simply by only going out when necessary, wearing a mask, washing our hands frequently, and keeping our distance from others. If only the attack on Pearl Harbour could have been stopped that easily. Have we simply become inured to the daily death toll, or do we truly no longer care about the people who are dying unless they are close to us on a personal level?
Perhaps it stems from a lack of leadership. In 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a man of conscience and honour, was president, while today’s president is neither of those things, and has even encouraged citizens to go forth and spread their germs just as he himself has done. On Saturday, 2,256 people died from the coronavirus in the U.S., 10,191 worldwide. In total, the U.S. has lost 289,183 lives to the virus this year, and still some people deny that it exists and refuse to take reasonable precautions. They risk not only their own lives, but those of every person they come in contact with. The men and women at Pearl Harbour on that day jumped into action to try to save as many lives as possible. Today, people in this country are more concerned with their “right” to go to a bar, a church, or a beach sans mask, to pick up an airborne germ and carry it home to their children, their elderly relatives, and others. How times have changed.