Lines at the ice cream parlor
I have been thinking recently about a father I know and wondering how he explains to his autistic son that they can’t go to that ice-cream stand, or the zoo, or to any of the other places they used to visit freely and happily. I thought of father and son again when I saw pictures of people cheerfully crowding reopened bars— I could tell they were cheerful because their uncovered faces gave it away, or they were standing in close formation lines while waiting for their own ice cream, people whose puny notion of freedom translates into the endangerment of the lives of their fellow citizens who for any number of reasons are not fortunate enough to maintain a safe distance from walking potential toxins.
I thought of the man who, when entering a Costco store and told that he needed to wear a face mask while inside the premises, declared, “I woke up in a free country,” under the circumstances a vacuous attitude that renders the idea of freedom trivial and tawdry.
I thought about the veterans we honor today and wondered: was this the kind of freedom they died for? And I thought about those veterans who, until three months ago, were still among us but who, too, are now gone, having died not in defense of their country but as sacrifices to an economy that seems increasingly undeserving of their valor.
John H Callan