Jim Daly '23

It is not easy to grasp the fact that it has now been two years since the COVID-19 public health emergency became a worldwide pandemic that upended every aspect of our lives and unimaginably altered our routines. It goes without saying that the world as we know it has certainly changed dramatically since the beginning of the decade. No matter, as unfortunate as it is, the world is still living with the dreaded coronavirus, even here in the United States.

As it turns out, since the start of the year, more Americans have gotten vaccinated & boosted against the disease, and recent cases & deaths have therefore plummeted. As a result of this, many COVID-related mandates that remained in place across the country two months ago to fight the omicron wave have since been lifted. In any case, the harsh reality is that the country is still grappling with this deadly virus as there is still a face mask requirement in place for public transportation no matter what an individual’s vaccination status is. In addition, given the spreading of omicron subvariant BA.2, a second booster dose has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA and recommended by the CDC for the elderly & immunocompromised. So, although life in America, along with several other nations around the world, is today closer than ever to reaching some form of post-pandemic normalcy, we are not out of the woods yet.

Nevertheless, the level of progress our nation has made this year in the battle against COVID is undeniably celebratory.

On that note, as we continue to reflect on lessons learned from this pandemic moving forward, many pauses to consider the true bravery and heroism our frontline workers have displayed. Particularly, our exhausted nurses and healthcare workers have worked tirelessly to save lives and rightfully deserve nationwide appreciation.

Nonetheless, the efforts of our essential medical workers have largely overshadowed the also plausible hard work our military has graciously done throughout this pandemic. From the deployment of the National Guard into areas of high COVID-19 spread to the vaccine rollout, from the shipment of PPE to the deployment of COVID testing sites & vaccine clinics, the U.S. Military has consistently supported us since the coronavirus pandemic began. However, as part of the American frontline during the fight against this virus, the various responses our armed forces have implemented continue to be massively overlooked, even by the commander-in-chief. Undoubtedly, the lack of recognition our armed forces have received under the Biden White House and by the public for the role they played for our country throughout the ongoing public health disaster is far too great.

This is sadly among the worst crises our country has experienced in decades, and the extent of its long-term impact on American history cannot possibly be fully determined in the immediate future. In any event, hopefully, through the passage of time, the legacy of our military’s influential response to this once-in-a-lifetime historical phenomenon will be more thoroughly considered in retrospect.