5/14/2020 7:25:35 AM
Anniversaries are milestones. They mark occasions of import in the lives of couples and families and nations. One such occasion was the 75th Anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. What began in 1939, with Germany's invasion of Poland, came to an end six devastatingly bloody years later on May 8, 1945. Hitler killed himself as did several of his closest advisers. Some two weeks later Germany's generals surrendered to the Allies and VE Day was proclaimed. The war in the Pacific would rage until September. It's estimated 75-80 million people died during those six years from all causes. That was 3% of the world's population. Three quarters of a century later the world marked that anniversary with two minutes of silence. In a few months we will do the same, after a fashion, to mark the end of hostilities with Japan. More silence will ensue. However silent we become, even for a symbolically sober moment, we can hardly do justice for the tragedy war brings to those touched by it. Words can do no better. Nearly two generations ago the world was engulfed in death. Today we live in close proximity to a different kind of war that is no less fatal than bullets and bombs. What will the death toll be in our pandemic? Where will we be 75 years hence? I sure hope we don't have to wage a six year war against it. Nor bury 70-80 million dead. I don't think two minutes of silence would be long enough. For now, keep your distance. Wear your mask. Wash your hands.