These days, a year ago, we were completely unsuspecting.
Life flowed more or less at the usual pace.
The topic that occupied us, based on the headlines from the early editions of The National Herald in March 2020, as I retrieve them from our archive, was the Greek-Turkish conflict.
March 2, 2020: The Situation on the Greek-Turkish Border is Deteriorating
March 4: European Union Officials on the Evros
And then suddenly, the headlines changed:
March 5-6: 13 Coronavirus Cases in New York
March 7-8: The World Health Organization Issues Warning
And, March 9: New York in a State of Emergency
On March 14-15, our first full-page six-column headline read: The First Two Cases of the Coronavirus in the Greek Diaspora
We had entered the coronavirus era for good.
March 21-22: Governor of New York: Close Businesses – Stay Home
And, on March 23, the headline was: New York at the Heart of the Coronavirus in America…
A whole year has passed since then. A historic period.
Mankind realized how small it is. How weak. And how we are really all equal in our smallness and weakness.
Neither gender, nor skin color, nor money played a role in the onset of the coronavirus. We were all equal. The enemy is invisible. And powerful. We are nothing in front of it.
Our lives have changed in ways that will take many years to understand.
The same goes for the economy.
Something similar to what happened in all the great crises: wars, earthquakes, plagues.
The morgues were filled with the corpses of people whose loved loves could not even say goodbye to them for the last time.
Now, a year later, New York City honored the approximately 30,000 New Yorkers who died of coronavirus with a riverside event in Brooklyn.
It was a necessary event. A just event.
An event that healed – as much as possible – the wounds that have been left behind.
The deaths, unfortunately, continue. They continue in America, in Greece, throughout the entire world.
The difference between this year and last is that last year at this time we entered a dark tunnel of despair and fear from which we did not know how and when we would emerge.
Now at least we see the light at the end of the tunnel – we hope, we are optimistic that in a few months the coronavirus will be a nightmare that has passed, though it will have left behind millions of deaths, and much mental and financial wreckage.
This time will always be a point of reference in human history.
And let us hope that what we have learned from it, that we will not forget the conclusions we have drawn this year about human relationships, about what really matters in life. If we do this, then the coronavirus pandemic may have some lasting positive value.