I am thinking this morning about the month of April 2020.
This month some 50,000 American people have died of Coronavirus Covid-19. That is more people than the quantity of American men and women who died in the Vietnam War – a statistic.
I remember how people acted and felt and thought about the Vietnam War. How I experienced life as a child when Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy died. When Kent State happened. When the Mai Lai Massacre happened. I remember often how we played “Combat” in 1965 and how I played “Hippie” in 1968. I remember how long the war was and how our perceptions of the war changed.
I remember how strongly I felt about the Vietnam War as a child and even as an adult. When AIDS was an epidemic of death, I wondered why, then, I did not seem to be as strongly affected as I was as a child about Viet Nam. Many of my friends and acquaintances disappeared. I stuffed my feelings and didn’t talk about it.
When 9/11 happened I went as close to the towers as I could get. It was because I was afraid that I would not feel it; that a “moment in history” was happening and I might not be fully present for it.
So I’m wondering, thinking, meditating on the fact that 50,000 American citizens have died of Coronavirus Covid-19 in the month of April 2020.
My next thought is that the dying and death isn’t over. We still have an active epidemic in May, June, the rest of 2020, and beyond.
It is so difficult to grasp.
50,000 becomes a statistic. 350,000,000 Americans divided by 50,000 is 7,000.
One in 7,000 Americans have died. I do not know 7,000 people but I do know of one man who died. I know people who know people who have died.
The Disappeared. No longer with us. Ghosts of vibrant talented loving people who often sacrificed for others and often died because of it.
This day I will remember the people who died in the month of April 2020.