Vaccine refusal is pure childishness. With the COVID Delta variant ripping through unvaccinated holdouts, the CDC is bringing back mask recommendations. Those new guidelines will likely be followed only by those who have followed them in the past.

This is all to accommodate the selfishness of those who couldn’t be bothered to wear masks, couldn’t be bothered to get vaccinated, and now likely can’t be bothered to wear masks again. They will also likely justify all this as some ill-defined “right” to do exactly as they like regardless of anyone else.

This is the posture of a spoiled and self-indulgent brat.

On June 6, 1944, Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force General Dwight D. Eisenhower released a statement addressing the troops heading into the D-Day invasion. It’s a sober directive that lays out a context for what that day would inevitably be:

“Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force:
You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped, and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.
But this is the year 1944. Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations1 have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned. The free men of the world are marching together to victory.
I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory.
Good Luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Nowhere does Eisenhower say “You’re free to decide whether or not you accept this challenge.”

Secure in his authority and respectful of his audience’s maturity, Eisenhower explains the importance of the job to be done (“We will accept nothing less than full victory”). He encourages (“Good luck!”) and validates any apprehension they might have (“Your task will not be an easy one”), but he trusts in a shared definition of duty.

The message clearly aims its appeal toward adults and expects those adults to act accordingly.

This is a message among members of the military, an order down the chain of command, and no civilian is obliged to respond to such a call to duty. It’s up to all of us as citizens today, however, to recognize our duty to the greater good in the war on COVID. Those who have served and those who claim leadership roles in our society have a particular obligation to lead in this manner. Shared strength comes from shared sacrifice.

Rights are for individuals. Societies come with duties. For some, getting a vaccination might seem like the doors of those Higgins boats lowering in the surf of Utah Beach, an infringement of their individual freedom and a challenge to their personal beliefs and fears. That’s fair. It’s not patriotic, but it’s your right.

Eisenhower spoke with the expectation that people would sacrifice for the greater good. Raising your individual feelings above that greater good turns your back on the heroes of D-Day.

Douglas Parker
Port Washington

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