Ask a child for his or her favorite hero and you’re likely to hear Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, the Black Panther, the Hulk, Elsa, Leia, or Harry Potter. Maybe someone else.
Ask an adult for his or her favorite hero and you’re likely to hear the same.
Once a hero, always a hero.
The pandemic introduced a new crop of heroes. They don’t wear capes and they don’t have superhuman strengths but they stand united in their willingness and passion to get the job done.
I saw a sign during a recent neighborhood walk.
I used to see these thank you signs everywhere during the initial weeks of the pandemic when nearly everyone stayed home.
Now that the economy is reopening and non-essential workers are returning to their workplaces, there are less signs and less universal awareness of our pandemic heroes.
First responders and healthcare workers are continually thanked.
What about postal workers, bank employees, grocery staff, and delivery drivers? What of school teachers, nannies, food prep workers, and janitors?
I want to believe that everyone listed, and everyone who should be listed, is (still) a hero and worthy of our continued honor and appreciation. I want to believe that their essential contribution to society is more relevant today than yesterday.
It’s great that California pledged support to essential workers, and that Massachusetts sued rideshare companies for its drivers to be classified as employees. I want to see other feel-good stories pop up around the U.S. and the world as government leaders treat essential heroes with respect. The White House should bail out child care, for instance, to the same intensity as it gave billions to airlines. Child care workers are also heroes.
If we remove heroes from the list, we begin to accept a life without a killer coronavirus. We can’t back down. We have to remain as vigilant today as we did during the early days. We must protect our heroes so that they remain heroes until we don’t need them anymore.