I was just talking a couple of weekends ago about watching it on ESPN. It was a Thursday night game, and Mississippi State hosted South Carolina. What made that game so special, and patriotic, was it was the first college football game after the Sept. 11 attacks.

American flags were flying throughout, and I was watching for one of my long-time friends painted up in red, white and blue in the stands. Watching the YouTube clip now, there was a resounding, “U-S-A,” chanted throughout Davis Wade Stadium quickly drowned out by a moment of silence for the lives lost. When someone broke it by yelling, “Go to hell, Bin Laden, go to hell,” there was another eruption from fans, signaling a sense of confidence.

We needed that.

We didn’t know Sept. 11 was coming, making things really weird in its aftermath for weeks, months and years to come. Things are getting weird again.

In the past 20 years or so, we’ve made it through the Y2K, West Nile Virus and Zika, just to name a few. On top of that, Chronic Wasting Disease has shaken up the deer hunting community for the past couple of years. Now enter the coronavirus.

Part of me wants to say it’s just another passing thing to be fearful. On the other side, part of me wants to be fearful of what the future holds because of it.

What’s America without a professional sports season going? What’s a trip to the store without easily finding toilet paper and disinfectant? Because of the coronavirus, those questions are being answered.

Like plenty of people have said with calm voices, “Just keep your hands washed.” That’s a lesson cold and flu season reminds us of every year. It’s easy to pump gas or pick up a loaf of bread at the store, though, and completely forget what we’ve done come the next meal, so it’s a tough regime to keep.

To keep track of the virus on a local scale, check out www.nmhs.net/patient-family-information/coronavirus-updates/. To keep track of how the virus is disrupting life on a global scale, turn on any national news report or bring it up in any conversation.

To keep your well-being, take certain precautions such as keeping your hands clean and avoiding contact with sick people like you do during flu season and more importantly don’t let this completely rattle your nerves.

If we had an inkling anything on the scale of Sept. 11 was coming somewhere and couldn’t stop it, it would’ve added to the sense of chaos and fear Bin Laden wanted to create.

There was enough of it after the attacks before we bounced back stronger, more unified and patriotic than we’d been in years. Pandemics are frightening, and hopefully this one will give us our time to bounce back soon.

The past few weeks have been eye-openers of how quickly the lives we know can change just like that. It’s crazy around here when a school district closes for a week due to a flu outbreak, but for spring break to be extended and classes to be switched to online only seems unbelievable.

I’m sure taking cover underneath school desks during the Cuban missile crisis was weird. Many of us know seeing Smithville and Hamilton right after the past decade’s tornadoes was weird.

These are the times we have lived through and will continue to live through as long as we’re alive.

Pandemics, terrorists and anything new and detrimental are agents of chaos and fear. Stress lessens immunity, so don’t stress over what the future may or may not hold. Take precautions and live a healthy life because it will help build up your strength for the next detrimental thing the future is sure to hold.

We need that kind of mindset.

Ray Van Dusen is the managing editor of the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at ray.vandusen@journalinc.com.

Recommended for you

comments powered by Disqus