52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Where There’s a Will

52 Ancestors

Take comfort in our will…

I was initially going to write about my will to overcome genealogical puzzles (I have had a lot of time to do so this past month).  However, it dawned on me how fitting that this week’s topic falls during a worldwide controversy over a pandemic.   The quick is – our family (to my knowledge) has not had to test their will against pandemic level crises.  Our various family lines seems to be long lived and quite healthy.

COVID-19 has challenged people everywhere to think and behave differently.  Some are doing exceptionally well, while others struggle with basic medical and political concepts concerning proper response to curbing the spread of the virus and providing financial security during…I don’t even know what we’re calling it since I am neither quarantined nor in self-isolation (I’m a natural introvert), nor is my country technically “shut-down”…we’ll say reduced business.

What this experience has reinforced for many of us is, where there’s a will – there is a way.  The United States (as well as other countries, I’m told by the media) have been caught short on medical supplies, specifically personal protective equipment (like face makes), and respirators for the most severe cases.  The USA rallied, not precisely as well as we did in the World Wars, perhaps, but there are those who stepped up to the plate to help by doing whatever they could.  

  • Crafters and hobbyists around the country (and the world) began sewing cloth facemasks.  Initially for our medical staff and first responders, but to redirect medically approved masks to the medical front, these hand made items are now being distributed to the communities.  
  • Car manufacturers retooled their shut downed factories to produce respirators.  Which also put some of their staff back to work.
  • Distilleries adapted to making liquid sanitizers while keeping the liquor flowing (my real heroes).
  • Clothing manufacturers are turning out appropriate fabrics and protective equipment with those fabrics.
  • Think tanks are hurriedly working on a vaccination (though, having worked for Battelle once, I am sure they will patent it and sell it).
  • Politicians – well, they are politicians, right?  They are paying us lip service while lining the pockets of their pet projects (probably for personal kick-backs after this thing is over. This is called money laundering or embezzlement when non-politicians do it).

The point is, despite those who have chosen to stay home and complain about whatever they disagree with or report the family of five walking in the park not complying with their idea of “stay-at-home order,” many chose to not stay still.  They decided to be productive.  Their will found a way to at least try to make a difference. 

Many are comparing COVID-19 to the 1918 Spanish Influenza (an H1N1 virus believed to be avian in origin).  What history has failed to correct is the name of this flu strain. Some historians tell us that US and European news of the flu was kept from the media once it was realized how serious it actually was because of World War I. Except Spain, who reported on the virus freely and sealed their fate as the namesake for that virus. There is still dispute as to when and where it originated; theories include France in 1916, a second theory involving England in 1917, and a third theory involving Kansas, USA early in 1918.

But did you know there were other pandemics in memorable history?  

  • 1957-1958 Asian Flu (H2N2)
  • 1968 H3N2 influenza
  • 1981 Aids (HIV)
  • 2009 Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic.  

Furthermore, do you know what the history of these pandemics teaches?  That humans have a will to overcome death through disease.  And always find a way to succeed.  Take comfort in this.