When I entered the Highway Patrol Academy in 1972, a young Corporal Paul Corbin, a member of the training staff, reminded us that it was not going to be easy…at all. He posted a quotation on the bulletin board that suggested we were not going for a walk in a rose garden. Three members of our class of forty walked out in the first week, preferring a far less disciplined way of life. Coincidently, none of the three had a military background and thus had not been exposed to the kind of structure inherent to a State Police organization. Though not necessary, a military background was obviously beneficial.
We are facing the discomfort of sequestration, at home or in our business, as the first weapon in the fight of the Coronavirus pandemic. A precisely uniformed officer, in your face as the result of a miscue was not pleasant, however; it was a small price to pay for membership in this unique fraternity. Our challenge today is not the expectation of near perfection by an officer schooled in the elements of perfection…rather the sharp reduction in our ability to move around our society at will. Staying at home will not be a rose garden, but it is important to keep it in perspective.
On June 6, 1944, our finest generation pushed ashore under tremendous enemy fire on the beaches of Normandy. I cannot imagine the fear, and soon to be horror, of being transported from Main street America to the snug confines of a Higgins boat listening to intense fire rattling of the front ramp as you approached the beach. You knew that survival was a matter of absolute chance and that many of you were soon to touch the face of the Lord. Do you think any one of these patriots would have preferred to be back home, forced to live within their home for two weeks, given the opportunity?
During the Vietnam war, our soldiers were faced with a different uncertainty. You either were on a Fire Support Base, waiting on the enemy to attack or you were in the bush, looking for a gunfight. Either way, the anticipation could destroy you unless you adapted to the circumstance. My personal consideration, private until now, was a concern with just how it would feel to be hit by a rifle round and perhaps live long enough to feel the pain. Death, in all it’s forms, was a near daily experience. Would I, given the opportunity, rather have been faced with two weeks at home? The question is, of course, rhetorical. For the record, war is war, whether it be in Vietnam, Europe, the Pacific, Afghanistan or Iraq. If we can find the resolve to confront what might be a certain death, for the good of the country, we surely can find the resolve to spend a couple of weeks at home, again for the good of the country.
We have a superlative team of authorities leading the charge on the Coronavirus menace. They are very knowledgeable, and led by a President who is not afraid to make tough calls when his advisors tell him they are necessary. Coincidently, when we kick the virus’s ass, we have the right man in the Oval Office to shepherd the economic recovery. All we have do do is endure the “hardship” of sequestration. If the finest generation can storm ashore at Normandy and fight like tigers in every subsequent war, surely we can muster the courage and discipline to sit at home for a couple of weeks.
Perspective is a wonderful concept!
Have a good weekend.