WWII posed a grave threat to America that was met by the greatest generation. Those Americans who did not go to war answered the call of their country to make sacrifices and pitch in to the effort to deter the foreign aggressors. They accepted rationing of goods and services, including food and fuel. Some left their jobs and professions to work in the factories that supported the troops. Most Americans rose to their patriotic duty.
We have recently faced a more insidious and deadly threat: COVID-19. And again, Americans have been asked to make sacrifices: Get vaccinated and wear masks in public in order to deter the enemy and prevent its lethal effects from spreading. We’ve been urged to support the troops, in this case the frontline healthcare workers in harm’s way who have suffered many casualties. Many have risen to this duty, but a substantial minority have refused, resulting in a death toll nearly twice that of WWII and 140 times the toll of the 9/11 attacks, not to mention the countless left wounded with chronic disease.
Where have all the patriots gone? How would the greatest generation have responded to this threat? Do true patriots heed only the bugles of military conflict? Or, in our complex world, should patriotism mean working together to repel any threat to our fellow citizens?