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Twenty years ago this week, many of us watched helplessly on TV as our country came under attack. As we saw the events unfold, it wasn’t clear what was happening, who was responsible or when it would end. The entire nation was caught up in uncertainty and doubt.
The heroes of that day were the first responders. Despite all the unknowns, they put their own safety on the line to save the lives of strangers. As I think of them, I’m reminded of the crisis we find ourselves in now. Like those heroes of 9/11, healthcare workers here in central Illinois and across the nation can’t be sure how long the pandemic will last or what will happen next. All we understand for sure is our responsibility to serve.
Today, too many healthcare workers also understand the trauma that the individuals who responded that day experienced: the guilt, the grief and the pain. Our colleagues at Memorial and other healthcare organizations need our support and apprecia- tion now more than ever as the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreads rapidly in our communities.
Twenty years from now, I think we’ll look back on the first responders of the COVID-19 pandemic in much the same way we remember the heroes of 9/11 today. Please join me in thanking them for their sacrifices and selflessness.
Edgar J. Curtis
President and CEO, Memorial Health System Springfield