(Editor’s note: This essay is part of Bethesda Beat’s Coronavirus Chronicles personal essay series. Visit the submission page to learn more.)
I am 74 years old and have experienced some horrible events.
I was 6 years old when my father was sent to an infectious disease hospital with polio. The vaccine was not yet available, and we were all scared of contracting the disease.
Then there was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; I was 17 years old.
I was 21 in 1968 when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated.
In 1974, I was 27 and my friends and I converged outside the White House to make sure Richard Nixon was really leaving and for good. I do not remember anyone I know who did not listen to the impeachment hearings.
In 1981, I was completing my master’s degree at George Washington University when Ronald Reagan was shot. He did not die, which gave us all permission to take it a little on the light side.
One of my professors was in the emergency room, sitting on a gurney, wearing nothing but a hospital gown, when a Secret Service agent “searched” him for a weapon.
Other events happened after that, but none more life changing than 9/11. We all know where we were and how we were affected by it.
COVID-19 deserves a place among all those other tragedies. We cannot be living through it and not be changed.
If we were not infected, we know someone who has been. Many of us also know someone who has died.
As I wear my mask, maintain social distance and avoid crowds, I wonder why someone would think these simple measures are infringing on their rights.
I am thankful I have been given the privilege of living beyond my 74 years and all it took was a mask and 6 feet of separation.
Vera Reublinger lives in Cabin John and recently retired from her career as a nurse practitioner.