Many will pause today to share memories of 9/11. As I scan social media that theme is already apparent. We all have memories of where we were, what we did, how we felt. It was a day like no other which has scarred our nation.
How will we remember the hundreds of thousands who have died in the COVID-19 pandemic? Will there be a day for them? Will there be monuments, scholarships for the children of frontline workers who have perished fighting the deadly disease?
Right now every day feels like a national day of mourning, and yet, not. Our attention is called away from one disaster to the next. Encouraging people to observe proper public health behaviors to prevent the spread of illness is seen as an aggressively political act by those who equate being unmasked to a celebration of their individual freedom.
But people keep dying. When will we mourn?
It is very important to be able to grieve loss. That is why we go through these annual recollections and moments of silence and reflection on this day. We need to. Grief ignored or suppressed is poison to the human spirit. We need to sit with our feelings of horror and sadness about this day in order to heal.
The loss of human life to the coronavirus far exceeds those lost on 9/11. And it goes on. Death and long-term damage is far from over. That does not make the observances of this day unimportant. But it does point to how crucial it is for us to acknowledge and grieve this horrific event in the history of our nation.
We are losing friends, and family, and neighbors, and co-workers. We are losing trust in our government and in those around us. These are wounds that run deep.
When will we mourn?
How will we heal?