Faceless heroes

A ‘thank you’ to the underappreciated American workforce

Michael Sicoli, Associate Opinion Editor

We are not remembered by the challenges we face but by the decisions we take to overcome them.

Make no mistake; COVID-19 is something that will be remembered. The coronavirus outbreak has changed the landscape of the world. From the falling economic status of nations to absolute heartbreak in our homes, this is something that our children will be reading about in the textbooks of their history classes.

But as I previously stated, the decisions we make will be remembered by all. During this time, it is easy to forget those making the decision to simply go to work.

Connor Lawless
The hard work of everyday Americans should be acknowledged, now more than ever.

Grocery workers are aiding shoppers during a time where food and supplies are fought for, risking infection each and every day. Amazon and other online service workers are continuing to safely ship items to residents that have trouble getting to the supermarket or lack access to other goods since most stores are closed. These are minimum wage workers who are providing an incredibly important service right now. Without these people, food and supplies would struggle to get to those who need it.

They were deemed “essential” and they stepped up to the task. Whether they are stocking shelves, loading trucks or helping a customer, workers are providing a service America desperately needs right now. And for that they deserve our thanks.

In normal circumstances, these are thankless jobs with faceless people. But these men and women are providing some badly needed normalcy during chaotic times. For that, they should be recognized. 

“Essential” minimum wage workers are not the only one’s worthy of praise. Doctors, nurses and everyone in the medical field still are not receiving the credit they deserve for being heroes.

That’s exactly what they are — heroes. It’s easy to forget how brave these doctors and nurses are. Day in and day out, they are helping those with a virus no one has ever seen before. There is no cure as of now and no viable treatment option. But despite how easy it would be to fall into a sense of hopelessness, they come to work each day saving lives.

Do you realize how much is on the line for these people? Every one of them has someone they care about. Working each day in a hospital or office, masked or not, puts them at high risk of infection. Supermarket employees are still making minimum wage despite being in contact with so many people, risking their health every shift. The same goes for doctors dealing with patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. But medical staff are among the brave souls who step up in the face of adversity. Do not dismiss them as people who only are doing their job. They are heroes.

There are even students who are helping. Students from Quinnipiac University’s Frank H. Netter School of Medicine are making homemade masks for medical workers across Connecticut. Early graduation ceremonies are being held across the country for medical students so they can help save lives. 52 fourth-year medical students at University of Kansas are volunteering to graduate early due to the expected increase of COVID-19 patients in the state. A month ago, they were enjoying classes and campus life. Today, they are on the front lines.

These are indeed front lines. This is a war, and in war, lives are lost. We lose loved ones, and we lose a piece of ourselves in the process. But war also exposes the heroes of our world. It shows the strength that people have inside them, even if they didn’t know it was there. Even when there seems to be nothing positive out there in the world, remember that there are individuals fighting day in and day out to keep you alive.

In a time where negative news is more prevalent than ever, remember those who have been forced to put their life on hold. Without these people, this country would be in a thousand times worse shape.

Whether you are working an essential job or not, there are ways to step up in this time of need. Plenty of teachers are learning new, creative ways to teach students, especially younger ones. My mom has put in a tremendous amount of work to teach her first and second grade special needs students, working around the clock to cater to their needs. People like her are the reason why I am writing this article. They deserve recognition for their work in times like these.

To only thank grocery workers, teachers and doctors would be disrespectful to every other tireless worker but let them serve as examples. They represent a group of people who are providing services that this country desperately needs right now. This is more than them fulfilling a job requirement. This is about saving a nation from chaos.

Thank you. Ending on a positive note in such a negative world, I would like to share a small story. My dad, who is out of work due to the pandemic and simultaneously not technically qualified for the government-given stimulus, was recently asked by a customer if he sold gift cards. My dad, bewildered since he cannot take on jobs during this pandemic, asked why. The customer replied that he just wanted to help a small, one-man business in this hour of need.

In this dark hour of history, let this make you stronger. Give thanks to those who deserve it and do your best to help others during this tough time.