March 11, 2021

A year ago today, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic, and in the blink of an eye, our lives and our world forever changed. Over the last twelve months, we have all mourned and suffered tremendously as the pandemic ravaged our families, our communities, and our nations. The horrific number of individuals we have lost, and the countless others who have suffered, will ached our souls and heavy our hearts for many years to come. It has dealt our economies a devastating blow that will require years to fully recover, and there will likely be other impacts that reveal themselves in the days ahead. In an era when we are often consumed by the pettiness of our difference, the pandemic should remind us all of the common threads and interests that bind us as human beings; relations who share a common home.

While we are not yet out of the tunnel, a warm and hopeful light awaits us ahead as the vaccinations roll out across our planet. While we all have reasons to hurt, it is my sincere hope that the devastation of the past year will serve as a reminder that we must forge a new path together that chooses unity and reverence as its guiding star. So today, let’s all take a moment to pause and reflect in honor and respect for all those that were taken from us far too soon. I am confident that, together, we will turn the page on this awful chapter and the lessons we have learned will further strengthen our resolve and our ability to persevere as we move forward. While we take a moment to remember those we have lost, let’s also commit to standing together in solidarity to ensure a brighter future for us all as we begin the arduous process of recovery and rebuilding.

–Chief Kirk Francis, USET/USET SPF President