World War II began in 1939 and ended in 1945. The countries who were called “allies” included Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the United States. They were fighting against Germany, Italy and Japan which were known as the Axis Powers.
I clearly remember many stories that my mom told me about the Second World War and how it changed her life as well as the whole world. Lately I have been thinking about how our war with COVID-19 has parallels to what everyone experienced back then.
- Fear – When we feel that we don’t have control or choices, it is easy to invite fear into our daily lives. The idea of having a pandemic that we don’t understand and can’t control is similar to living in a world that is at war.
- Change – Soldiers and medics weren’t the only ones who had to learn new skills for the battles. Many women took jobs in factories and other careers that had previously been male dominated because they were needed. Thousands also demonstrated patriotism by volunteering their time, expertise, labour, money or goods. Change appeared everywhere for everybody.
- Innovation – Both war and pandemics require wisdom, planning and open-mindedness. New ways of living and doing things are vital. Demands for inventions, adaptations and strong leadership are paramount.
- Sacrifice – Mom talked about her friends and acquaintances who gave their lives in the quest of gaining freedom for all. Food stamps were issued limiting supplies for individuals and families so that finances could be invested in weapons, equipment and military needs.
- Activities – Our daily schedules have been affected by economic and governmental restrictions in war and in pandemic times. Many have used alterations in time, finances, and necessity to grow gardens, cook and bake at home and do repairs that they might otherwise hire out or ignore.
- Unity – In order to achieve any goal, it is important to work together. Fighting each other does not strengthen our ability to fight a pandemic or a war. Unfortunately, we have seen in the past that a lack of good leadership can result in civil war and we therefore need to remember who the true enemy is. It is not our family or our neighbours.
- Perspective – We all believe that our ideas are “best” and that we should stand up and fight for them. It is often hard, however, to balance economics with health and rights with safety in a democracy society.
- Mixed messages – When we hear inconsistency or conflicting opinions, especially from those who we believe are authorities, we can lose trust.
- Uncertainty – We never really know when a war or a pandemic will end and this, in itself, can be difficult to bear. World War II lasted six years! We have been in the pandemic for more than six months and there is no date as to when it will end – or exactly what will determine that we are at an end.
- Hope – Ancient scriptures state “Without hope the people perish” but our hope cannot just be in the future. We need hope for today and the ability to find blessings in the middle of chaos.
This is the not our first pandemic and unfortunately, it won’t be the last. The fact that we have survived wars, famines, economic crises and personal troubles allows me to have faith that we will come through this too.