I wonder if there will be public holidays to honor the teachers, medical professionals, food workers, Grocery clerks, cashiers, delivery drivers, and warehouse stockers. These are the people who are putting their lives on the line every day to keep us alive as we seek shelter in our homes.
I think in the future, we’ll hear phrases like “Thank you for your service” and “Thank you for your sacrifice” when learning that someone was a teacher, nurse, delivery driver during the pandemic.
People have short term memories, and I’m sure the sacrifices of 2020 will be forgotten. That’s why war memorials are erected, and special ceremonies are held. Heroes are commemorated every year so that people don’t forget and don’t repeat the same mistakes.
My school in South Africa has a gray stone war memorial that is full of engraved names of the boys who died in the First and Second World War. The war memorial guards a grassy quad where the school gathers every year for the November 11th Memorial Service.
At the end of the service, the headmaster reads the famous and sad verse from Laurence Binyon’s The Fallen:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Everyone then repeats the final line: We will remember them.
I hope we remember the essential service workers of Covid-19 2020. I hope we pay them more, I hope we look after their families, I hope we are kind to them when things get busy again.
One of the ways to honor them is to pay more for something because it’s made locally by people we trust and people we can rely on. We are in this mess because we outsourced our manufacturing and labor to the cheapest bidder without caring about whether we share the same values when the pressure is on. Now we know the real cost, and it’s a lot more expensive.
Photo by Dan Smedley on Unsplash