Businesses are open, gatherings are occurring, and it officially feels like summertime in McPherson. Over the holiday weekend, you could see families and neighbors gathering for barbecues and fun. Things felt normal, things looked normal but things still aren’t normal.
As of press time, 8,958 people in Kansas have been diagnosed with COVID-19; 185 of those people have died. In the United States, 1.67 million people have been diagnosed, and 98,000 people have died. During the Vietnam War, approximately 47,500 U.S. soldiers died in combat. Things are absolutely not normal.
It is easy, as we sit in sunny McPherson with just 27 cases, most of whom have recovered, to feel like COVID-19 isn’t a big deal. Those people dying aren’t from our community. They didn’t live here. They don’t look like us or live like us or die like us. They aren’t us.
But they are. Each of those cases, each of those 98,000 people were loved by someone. Each of those people had important work to do. Some of them were barbers, teachers, police officers, journalists and pastors. They all had things they wanted to do. I’m sure they planned to get another haircut, planned to go to church on Sunday or planned to meet their family and friends for dinner in a restaurant. They were like us, and they are dead.
Being safe isn’t about living in fear. Being safe is about respecting those who have died and making a conscious choice to do what we can to ensure other families don’t have to experience the loss. As businesses open and life returns to normal in McPherson, there are still people dying, and we should respect that loss enough to be as safe as possible.
Right now, McPherson is in a good spot. Instead of gloating about it, we should respect it. We should continue to practice good hygiene and be responsible about where we go and who we see. Instead of proclaiming, “Open up America,” we should be proclaiming to the families of the almost 100,000 people lost, “America supports you.”
Enjoy your freedom, McPherson; it always comes at a cost.
The McPherson News-Ledger Editorial Board