Veterans Day: Don’t thank us, join us

Author, RichardiPorter wearing a balacalava Mask in Afghanistan for Dust then. For the Virus Now.
Stop thanking us and put your mask on. 

On this Veterans’ Day, like on previous, I call on you, my fellow citizen, not to thank us Veterans. I call on you to join us. Serve your nation and your fellow citizens, help protect and safeguard them. We are at war with a deadly Pandemic. It is killing more Americans per day than any war we have been engaged in before. I know it is exhausting. War is. You must endure, we all must. Fortunately the things you must do are fairly simple: 4 W’s and an A.

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Watch your space (6+ feet, especially if not wearing masks)
  • Wait at home as much as you can
  • Advocate for others to do the same.

When it all comes down to it, the less breaths we share, the fewer of our fellow Americans we will kill.

Map of the COVID pandemic and how its getting worse.
It’s really bad. And not getting better. CovidExit

I know its inconvenient. I know it’s a slog. I know you’re over the virus. But the Pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it. By your endurance, courtesy and fortitude you can save lives. I want to tell you about a couple of those.

My daughter was born premature. She needed a ventilator to live. It kept her alive and damaged her tiny lungs some in the process. She has chronic lung disease now. To help keep her safe my wife and I pulled her sister out of Kindergarten. We all wear masks when out in public anywhere close to other people. We limit our trips to grocery stores and take away from restaurants. We have had strains in our relationship with family and friends because they are not taking this as seriously as we are. Between the two of us we are always attending to a child. If one of us gets a break the other must provide it. We trade off which stressor we’re carrying at a given moment, and who carries it: work, full time parenting, shopping.

The Authors Family masked up.
We wear our masks. So can you. (No compensation)

But a friend and fellow Veteran of mine and his family are shouldering even more. Dr. Cicero RunningCrane and I studied for our undergraduate degrees at the University of Colorado Boulder together. Except he studied Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology while I was studying Political Science and History. He had already enlisted in the Marine Corps and as a serious and dedicated Lance Corporal he set the example for us Midshipmen in how to bring dedication to our studies, military and civilian. We attended The Basic School together, and he specialized in Artillery. He deployed into combat.

This being Native American Heritage Month I’ll note that Dr. RunningCrane’s heritage is Native American. In his family there is a strong tradition of service including in firefighting in addition to the military. American Indians Serve in the U.S. Military in Greater Numbers Than Any Ethnic Group and Have Since the Revolution (article). The COVID-19 Pandemic has struck the Native American and American Indian communities even harder than any other. With drastic underfunding of the Treaty-Obligated Indian Health Service (article) and radical disparities and legal inequities including shocking lack of even legal permission to install running water in some Tribal Land, it should be shocking but unsurprising how bad it is (podcast). Sadly this has impacted my friend’s family directly. When I contacted him yesterday to wish him a Happy Marine Corps Birthday he shared how it has hit home for him. He has had family sick and even a fatality caused by this Pandemic. When I asked how things are at work he said:

Busy, hospital is constantly full but this is the same everywhere.

Photo of Dr RunningCrane in USMC Dress Blues
Continuing to serve.

You probably caught that I’m calling my friend, college buddy, and fellow Veteran “Dr.” RunningCrane. That’s right, after serving in combat he came back and decided to step up to serve yet again. He came back and went to Medical School. He’s now working at an Emergency Room in Washington State, his kiddos are the same age as mine. He’s seen the same combat I have. But he’s not done. Knowing the risk, having experienced the loss personally, he suits up every day and walks into combat for us again at an overloaded ER in Washington state. Buy him and his colleagues some time. Reduce their risk.

Don’t just thank a veteran. Join us. Join me, in taking those minimal actions to help him and his colleagues fight this war.

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Watch your space (6+ feet, especially if not wearing masks)
  • Wait at home as much as you can
  • Advocate for others to do the same.


3 responses to “Veterans Day: Don’t thank us, join us”

  1. Gloria Veal Avatar
    Gloria Veal

    LOVE this Richard (Gloria Veal, MSgt, USAF (Ret)

  2. Great honest viewpoint shared – everyone can and must do their part to halt the spread of COVID
    Kudos to Dr Cicero and all those around the world battling to minister to those affected

  3. Thank you for your service and the rock solid advice.