Editorial: Amid the crisis, thank those who strive to keep our lives stable

Posted March 18, 2020 5:00 a.m. EDT
Updated March 18, 2020 4:00 p.m. EDT

CBC Editorial: Wednesday, March 18, 2020; Editorial #8522
The following is the opinion of Capitol Broadcasting Company.

The routines of our lives have been thrown asunder. Working people have been tossed out of their workplaces. Some of the fortunate can work from alternative locations. Others because of their kind of work – restaurant, food or entertainment service employees -- or those with family obligations of dealing with children or older adults, are unable to continue with their occupations.

Colleges and universities are closed and the rituals of spring – from athletic tournaments to long-awaited and hard-achieved commencements are uncertain, postponed or canceled. Our kids don’t know when they’ll head back to school or if it’s ok to go play with friends at the park.

NCCU students respond to the Coronavirus scare

For all that instability, we would be remiss to overlook what we take for granted that, day-in and day-out, makes our lives stable, safe and assured.

If you walk into an emergency room there will be doctors, nurses, attendants and others who will make sure your urgent needs are met. This is their job. It is what they do every day. The coronavirus outbreak hasn’t changed that.

At emergency stations there are EMS specialists and firefighters – professionals and volunteers – ready to answer the call.

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Law enforcement officers – from the Highway Patrol to the cop-on-the-beat – are keeping our roads and communities safe. Of course, our armed services – and our National Guard – always stand at the ready to serve when duty calls.

It is not just those folks. Utility workers make sure our basic services are operating and if they aren’t, get them fixed. Grocery store workers are at it, seemingly round-the-clock, to keep shelves stocked and cash registers tapping. They engage hundreds of people a day, even as the rest of us heed isolation warnings. Those of us not working in those areas, our call to public service is to stay home and follow the appropriate safety social distancing guidelines we’ve been given.

NC Food Bank works to close the hunger gap

Still, volunteers prepare meals so kids won’t miss the nutrition they’d otherwise be getting at schools. The people who operate our food banks, pantries and meals-on-wheels programs are gearing up – not slacking off.

Your favorite restaurants are adapting – offering meals-to-go so their customers don’t go without – not to mention doing what they can to keep staffs gainfully employed.

Their daily interactions that are just parts of their job put them at even greater risk in these days of the COVID-19.

We should pause, even for just a moment, and ponder how thankful it is that we live in a place where people make this kind of sacrifice to serve their communities. This is no small matter. They don’t do it because they are forced to. No dictator threatens them. There is no great fortune or privilege awaiting.

They are there because in our nation, we know it is our duty to look out for each other. And when there are those particularly tasked to do it, they stand at the ready. They are our neighbors, friends and family members.

In America as much as we hunker down in an emergency, we step up.

We tend to take for granted there are those among us who do it every day. It is times like these – these times of coronavirus – when our focus becomes sharper.

They are the blessing we bestow on ourselves. And it is times like these that we know just how blessed and thankful we are.

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