As originally published on Medium : https://medium.com/@AlexGInNYC/the-greatest-generation-battles-covid-19-efb54dae4574
There is no doubt we have turned numerous corners in the fight against COVID-19. As Memorial Day draws near, and this weekend inspires us to get outside, let’s not lose our focus on continuing to social distance and defeat corona-virus.
Let’s not totally bring ourselves down about the corona-virus, either. Instead, we should focus on Content Better Than Corona! As I’ve been saying all week, we can be inspired during this lock-down, not feel mired in it!
This weekend, alone, The Greatest Generation itself should be recognized for surviving COVID-19! Say what? Just a Google search and I have literally found story after story of our elders, both American and across the globe, who battled in World War II and now battle through COVID-19 and survive!
The first story I came across in this domain was about Sir Albert Chambers. He is a British WWII hero and a survivor of a three year imprisonment under Nazi Germany as well. At 99 years old, he beat, yes BEAT, the corona-virus! He is expected to turn 100 in July! (https://news.iheart.com/featured/coronavirus/content/2020-04-10-99-year-old-wwii-veteran-once-held-prisoner-by-nazis-beats-coronavirus/?mid=380313&rid=65598861&sc=email&pname=newsletter&cid=NATIONAL&keyid=National%20iHeart%20Daily%20NewsTalk&campid=headline4)
On Long Island, ABC 7NY reported on a come-back story for 100 year old, World War II vet, Walter Reed. His name really is Walter Reed and the fact that he is named such, could have the spirit of the man who ‘Walter Reed Hospital’ was named after! The story of 100 year old Walter Reed’s time fighting COVID is remarkable. He fought off pneumonia at the same time and was recovering from a broken hip! He also dealt with loneliness, as he explained to ABC7 Eyewitness News. The kicker for me is that this WWII hero was still driving at 99 until his hip broke in February 2020. Imagine driving at 99! His quote to Stacey Sager on longevity, “Be nice to your fellow man and treat him right.” (https://abc7ny.com/health/wwii-vet-who-beat-covid-gets-surprise-parade-for-100th-birthday/6137864/?fbclid=IwAR1z2wM9cGBQ2CE0h_7hxq-0F8BIDdMw1wpu119lgAwELL-YiPB4Dn_FYnk)
Historical reference showed that Dr. Walter Reed in 1901 was a U.S. Army physician who headed up the fight against yellow fever. Yellow fever was the pestilence Theodore Roosevelt warned his troop leaders about in the Army. It had afflicted 4,000 members of his Fifth Corps. Troop. After Dr. Reed and his team had found this to be transmitted by mosquitoes, science took to the fight and his discovery helped make the Panama Canal a possibility. You can find all of Dr. Walter Reed’s research here at University of Virginia (https://search.lib.virginia.edu/catalog/uva-lib:2513789). His work has definitely helped transform the military and helped better protect us and keep us stronger, both on and off the battle-field! I could say the same about the inspiration of 100 year old hero Walter Reed on Freeport, Long Island!
Not every member of WWII have survived corona. As of May 15th, 700 of the remaining 300k vets have passed on because of their health accelerated by COVID-19. USA Today talked with 97 year old Veteran Paul Grassey, who had been a B-24 bomber in WWII has this message to combat COVID-19 and protect more lives. Grassey told USA TODAY, “We fought a war and won it in three and a half years after a great national effort, and that’s the only thing we can do today with this virus, come together to beat it…I’m an American,” Grassey says. “All I want to see is us get together again.” (https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2020/05/15/coronavirus-deaths-claim-wwii-vets-steals-part-us-history/3120671001/)
For those of the Greatest Generation that do survive this evil virus, resiliency is doing its part. I asked veteran Jason Van Camp, author of ‘Deliberate Discomfort’ and creator of Warrior Rising, about The Greatest Generation. Retired Green Beret Van Camp said the way the Greatest Generation dealt with their trauma of war-time, “they confided with their brothers-in-arms, the people who experienced these things with them. It was widely accepted you just don’t talk about it.” You can listen to my conversation with Jason, here ! (https://www.spreaker.com/episode/28198927)
The Greatest Generation has now been shown to survive COVID-19 because they just have learned to work through adversity. They fought through hell and survived in the 40s and are working to fight through their ailments , including COVID-19, to this day!
Did you also know, according to the Defense Department, there are 57,000+ active members of the Defense Department fighting this COVID effort? Pray for them as well this Memorial Day Weekend! (https://media.defense.gov/2020/Apr/28/2002290387/-1/-1/1/DEPARTMENT-OF-DEFENSE-COVID-19-RESPONSE-INFOGRAPHIC.pdf)
Most importantly, be sure to say thanks to those who have served, even if at a social distance this Memorial Day Weekend. Say thanks to the nurses and doctors who have also made sure to help keep the Greatest Generation and everyone suffering during this time comfortable as we all work to stay healthy during this COVID crisis!
Follow Alex on Twitter at @AlexGInNYC!