Letter: Spirit described in 1943 has waned

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 2, 2022

David Shribman’s article in Tuesday’s paper, “COVID sacrifices pale in comparison to 1943,”  is an insightful perspective on patriotism in America. Unfortunately, the esprit de corps that prevailed in 1943, 660 days into World War II, seems to have waned  since his reference year.

Changes today abound, including attitudes. One point he makes is that the simple and somewhat trivial sacrifices of our parents’ and grandparents’ standards  are no longer popular. We simply do not like and often refuse to be inconvenienced.

He cites examples of the many people from celebrities to young people who heeded the call to tirelessly contribute in whatever ways to serve both God and country. War kills and wounds, both physically and mentally. Prisoners taken suffer unspeakable torture. Talk about sacrifice and inconvenience? Yet people rallied together. Republicans, Democrats, the rich, the poor, people in all walks of life shared a common loyalty — espirit de corps. Nothing less would do.    

The article then segues into today’s killing war brought on by COVID. In 1943, people would feel the affects of rationing: one pair of shoes per year, 12 ounces of sugar a week and three gallons of gas every seven days.  Today, we are outraged at having to accept any inconvenience or sacrifice whatsoever: social distancing, staying in one’s home as much as possible, make do with take-out food and wearing  masks.

COVID rages a perilous war and its truce is yet to be determined.   Would that the spirit of the good folks who lived in America in 1943 once again return because we really are all in this together?

— Edith Julian