Dark days offer chance for light to shine through
Last updated 3/18/2020 at 4:29pm | View PDF
Last Wednesday a writer from Crain’s Chicago Business compared the coronavirus to Sept. 11.
“Just as 9/11 changed us and how we live, this was the day it truly became clear that coronavirus will do the same here,” Greg Hinz wrote in his column, “On politics.”
“Now another day that augurs to be at least as momentous as 9/11 has arrived. Today is the day COVID-19 truly came home to Chicago,” he added a few paragraphs later.
We were offended by his decision to connect the spread of a virus to the murder of thousands of innocent victims.
And his statements about the impact of COVID-19 now seem laughable. He pointed to, among other things, the cancellation of the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the expectation that the NCAA basketball tournament would be a TV-only event with no live audiences.
Fast forward to this week. March Madness has been canceled altogether. Schools, restaurants and bars are closed until at least the end of the month. The NBA, NHL and MLB have suspended their seasons.
Now comparisons to 9/11 — or more specifically, its aftermath — seem inevitable. Travel plans have been interrupted. Professional sports are on hiatus. The economy is in turmoil. People’s emotions fall somewhere between unsettled and terrified.
But there are even more important similarities between the days after 9/11 and the ones we are living through now. People are helping people.
“In times of hardship, the true character of America always shines through,” President Donald Trump said during his press conference Friday. “We live in the company of the greatest heroes and the most inspiring citizens anywhere in the world. We want to take care of our people. We want to draw on the strength of our history, draw on the strength of our people, and we will get through this all together.
“The spirit and the will of our nation is unbreakable,” he added later. “We will defeat this threat. When America is tested, America rises to the occasion.”
We’ve already seen examples. People posting offers of help on social media. Neighbors receiving calls from the folks next door or down the block checking to make sure they’re OK. Parents sharing sample schedules and websites and livestream events to help keep the kids busy at home.
And there’s more we can do.
Support local businesses. Shop at Kramer Foods rather than the big-box store. Buy a gift card from a local business as a gift for an upcoming birthday or to use yourself after social distancing recommendations have ended.
Skip the drive-through fast food line and order take-out from a Hinsdale restaurant (see Page 18 for a list of options). Better yet, buy a gift card from a local restaurant and put it in the drop box at Mary Buddig’s house. She’ll deliver it to Amita Hinsdale Hospital so medical staff can pick up dinner to feed the family or during late nights at the hospital. Make a donation to HCS Family Services.
Be patient. Be patient with friends, with family, with the people you do business with.
And please be patient with us. We will do our best to provide the most-up-to-date information each Thursday — with appropriate updates on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/thehinsdalean) and our website (https://www.thehinsdalean.com) between issues. But given the rate at which things are changing, our best information when we go to press Wednesday could be completely out of date by the time you get your paper Thursday morning.
In the days and weeks after 9/11, we remember reporting on all the amazing efforts people in Hinsdale and surrounding communities were making to support those in need. Kids in one elementary school collected $2,000 in nickels — yes, nickels — for relief.
No matter what your feelings are about President Trump, he had it right Friday.
“In times of hardship, the true character of America always shines through.”
We expect to be blinded by that light.