Tom Stangl

I hope you had a good Easter and were able to gather with family, either in person or virtually.

With vaccination for coronavirus being expanded to all adults, regardless of age or health condition, we can all see hope for a return to normalcy on the horizon.

This is great news, because the last year has certainly been a challenge for everyone. As news stories began running last month marking the anniversary of the first cases and deaths in the United States, I was struck by the passage of time.

It’s nothing new for me to be struck by the passage of time. As I get older, milestones for everything from life events to pop culture to history seem to take me by surprise. Memory is a funny thing, it gets recalled by a smell, song or image and instantly you are back in time to when the memory was stored.

I was able to visit my sister and her family in Toronto, Canada, at the end of February, 2020, returning to the USA early in March, shortly before travel restrictions went into place. I had a great time seeing my sister and her family and doing touristy things in Toronto. 

We would watch the Canadian and American network news programs and see the increasing coverage of the spread of coronavirus. It seemed unreal at the time and something that was far, far away from our lives. So far away, it seemed it couldn’t be real.

In the past year as the virus and lockdowns affected nearly every aspect of life, it seemed like a very bad dream, one I was anxious to awaken from as soon as possible.

The public health and governmental response to the pandemic continued to evolve as more was learned about the virus and the way it was spread. In outbreaks, this is the way it goes. What is gospel one day becomes folly the next week. It can be difficult to keep up with and hard to understand.

We live in a time when information of all sorts is easily and rapidly spread. Information and disinformation can spread as fast as an unchecked virus. Information about the pandemic, treatments and vaccines have become fodder for political arguments. This should not come as a surprise to anyone, because it seems that nearly anything and everything can easily escalate to a political argument.

I want to thank elected officials who have helped us navigate this global public health crisis. Their jobs have not been easy. Decisions were not entered into lightly and balancing public safety and personal liberty is never easy.

I hope as we emerge into a new world after the pandemic we can keep some of the ways we were able to innovate, find ways to respect and trust personal choices we don’t agree with and remember that we are truly all in this together.

Remember when we were in it all together a year ago? Tolerance of others is something we should all aspire to achieve, remembering tolerance is not acceptance.

I will get my second vaccination shot next week. I am looking forward to being around and hugging my children and grandchildren once again. I am happy no one I know was severely affected by the virus. I hope we can all put the past year in the rear view mirror, like a bad dream.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading. I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

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