Are you a patriot?

Published July 9, 2020

By Tom Campbell

This was the most unusual July 4th holiday most of us ever experienced. It just wasn’t the same without the traditional bands, parades, fireworks and cookouts. With all we’ve been through the first half of this year we could have used a little more red, white and blue celebration. But it was a good time for reflection on patriotism.
Someone posted an article about what happened to the 56 signers of The Declaration of Independence back in 1776. They knew when they affixed their names to that document they were taking great personal risk, but they did so because they believed in the cause and knew it was what was best for the most in the thirteen colonies. They paid dearly.
Five of them were captured by the British and tortured before dying. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons and another two had sons taken captive. Nine fought and died from wounds or hardships resulting from the war. One wealthy planter had to sell his home and properties to pay his debts and died in rags. Properties of other signers were looted, they were hounded and forced to move frequently to avoid capture or death.
They were patriots.
That same day another article caught my attention. It compared America’s COVID-19 experience with that of Canada. Our northern neighbor started out having a trend line much like ours, but instead of tallying 50 or 60,000 new cases per day Canada only has a few hundred. What are they doing to prevent the spread?
Like us Canada shut things down early on, but unlike North Carolina and other states political leaders from both parties came together and supported decision making. The party out of power praised those in charge. Citizens saw unity, not bitter partisan divisiveness, so when Canadians were asked to wear face coverings they complied. Why? In interview after interview people said they understood it was their civic duty to protect not only themselves but also their neighbors. They were doing their part for the common good.
That is modern-day patriotism.
The more we learn about COVID-19 the more the evidence becomes clear that the best things we can do to prevent the spread, save lives and return as quickly as possible to the life we previously enjoyed are to wear face coverings, keep social distances and wash hands frequently.
Over this past holiday beaches in our state were filled with people observing little to no social distancing and with few masks evident. The same was true in many downtowns and parties. Many, especially the young, believe they will never get coronavirus or, if they do, they won’t be seriously affected. Or maybe they think it is more important to insist on their own rights and don’t feel a civic duty to others. We can be thankful our founding patriots didn’t have that mindset and can’t help but wonder how they would react to what we see today.
You could unknowingly be a spreader and infect your parents, grandparents or neighbor with cancer, heart problems or diabetes. How hard is it do something so simple as to wear, wash and wait? How much effort does it take to be concerned about how your actions might affect others? Maybe we should start calling out those not abiding by the 3 W’s.
Are you a patriot?