“How Shall We Thank Thee?”

(The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. It is awarded for valour “in the presence of the enemy” to members of the British Armed Forces. It may be awarded posthumously.) Wikipedia

“The Canadian Theatre of War”

We are at war with Corona Virus-19, let there be no quibbling about that! This enemy is as real as any two-legged one, and a thousand times more difficult to see. What we do see is the devastation that it leaves in its wake.

There is a regiment of doctors, nurses and many others engaged in medical support services who are on the front line, not just for a fleeting violent battle but for as long as it takes to gain total victory. They are, to me, another kind of Armed Forces, armed not with guns and the like but armed with the tools of their trade to crush this invader who would take all our lives if left to multiply.

They have a double duty, not only to use their tools of enemy destruction but to care for and tend the injured, the wounded and the dying. And what about the epidemiologists and their assistants and the vaccine researchers who work behind the scenes, code-breakers like those at the Bletchley Park of old? Keep in mind, too, the police and firemen hard at work wherever the battle rages fiercest? And, finally, the coroners who play their part. As John Milton might say of them, “They also serve who only stand and wait!”

We need our own Victoria Cross (our V19) to be awarded for “outstanding valour in the presence of the enemy” to members of our Armed Anti-Viral Forces.

We need, also, a secondary medal to recognize the unselfish bravery of all those who also serve on this field of battle, the personal support workers and others whose services are essential, while their families are locked down at home, unable to help except by just staying out of the way.

For years, nay future centuries, this dedicated band of men and women will be revered for turning the tide when the enemy threat was at its highest. They will be Canada’s new Dieppe heroes, their very own Hurricane and Spitfire heroes who, together with a legion of intrepid devotees, stood their ground against an unseen but deadly and unthinking enemy. Let’s recognize them today, and let’s make sure we recognize them in some way that tomorrow’s survivors will find it difficult to forget the role played by them today.

Gerry Wood, April, 15, 2020

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