I can't believe that more than a year has passed since our nation first panicked at the onset of a raging pandemic. At the time, chaos was everywhere. People frantically searched for toilet paper and hand sanitizer, or, sometimes, just a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.
For the first time since I arrived in America some 30 years ago, I saw empty grocery shops, boarded storefronts and deserted streets, even in the most affluent neighborhoods. America started the war against the virus without a winning strategy.
I was frightened, for I have lived through famines, natural disasters and a ten-year-long revolution, and knew firsthand what kinds of gruesome consequences and suffering could occur when things went wrong. I worried if America could come together, withstand the crisis and come out the other side of the pandemic with all its citizens safe.
During this frightful year, the human cost was severe: More than half a million Americans lost their lives and many more are still struggling physically, mentally, and financially. Now, after several rounds of fierce combat, much to my relief, our microscopic enemy is finally retreating and our country has come out stronger and is on the rebound.
Now is the time to remind ourselves that the virus has not been totally defeated. The smoke on the battlefield can still be seen and it is vital that we keep on fighting to the end. If we let down our guard at such a critical time, our enemy could regroup, restrengthen, and even launch a new offensive.
At the present time, the most powerful weapons we have are our vaccines. By invoking the Defense Production Act to accelerate the manufacture of these magic bullets. Every willing, patriotic adult American can get a shot to stop COVID's spread and avoid being infected. We can all become soldiers in this brutal war.
I'm pleased to say that all four members of my family have been vaccinated. For the first time in more than a year, we can finally make plans to patronize local restaurants in person, or take a car trip somewhere, staying overnight at a lake or on a mountaintop. This is truly a May of blossoming hopes and dreams for all Americans. If we do everything right, we'll soon be able to embrace a normal life again.
Reflections From The East Column:
By Qin Sun Stubis