The last week has been a very frightening time in our Nation as we are experiencing a period of great difficulty and uncertainty.
The only other time I can remember as challenging as this was immediately following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In the days following that terrible tragedy, we were all angry and afraid, but at least we had some understanding of who our enemy was and an idea of the magnitude that it would take to defeat that enemy. Fighting a virus strain is something much more abstract and most of us do not have the professional or educational background to understand the severity of this situation. Beyond health concerns, we face economic uncertainty and the ramifications of a global recession. We have a long, uncertain road ahead during these scary times.
Another aspect I remember about the days following September 11, 2001, was the extraordinary way that Americans came together as a people united. I have always been a student of history and this event has reminded me of times we came together as Americans to face great challenges. I remember hearing the stories of millions of Americans, after Pearl Harbor, both young men and women putting their lives on hold to head into battle to fight Axis powers, or to those millions of people that stepped up to work the factories supplying the war effort. I remember hearing about how everyone in the country regardless of where they were from, what political party they were in, or what social status they had mourned the assassination of President Kennedy. I remember the day in 1981, when I was a small kid, that the entire Nation rejoiced the day the hostages came home from Iran.
All these challenging events have a common thread.
When Americans are faced with trying and dangerous times, we unite, we work together, and we prevail. We are one nation full of so many great people, cultures, and a shared history. It is in our DNA. If we look back in our history, we started our Independence by taking on the World’s largest superpower, we destroyed the Axis powers in the most dangerous and destructive war in human history, and put a man on the moon! Americans have proved repeatedly that we can accomplish anything if we are together and united in a common cause. That is just as true today as it ever was. Our fight with COVID-19 and the aftermath of this global pandemic is no different. Together, we will overcome the virus, recover from the economic damage, and we will emerge as strong as ever.
Division has recently plagued this Country, as it has at other times in our past, but gradually this week, as the danger from the virus emerged, the division began to melt away. I saw the President working with Democratic Governors and members of Congress to enact emergency plans and to pass relief packages. Ideological differences that both sides believe in were worked out in order to move assistance to the American people. Federal, state, and local officials mobilized emergency plans and the National response started to take shape. It reminded me why we are so lucky to live in this great Country. We are a long way from the storm being over, but there is no place on Earth I would rather be to ride it out.
The days and weeks ahead will continue to be uncertain, scary times, but we will get through them together. There will be trials and challenges for everyone. We will have health scares as the virus takes its toll and business owners will definitely face tough times ahead. I want all of my constituents to know my office is here to help. We are here to be a source of information to everyone in the 104th District, and I promise I will keep you updated on the latest health developments and the latest directives from the Governor. We will keep businesses, workers, social service entities, and you informed of disaster assistance programs and assist in bringing vital resources to the 104th. We are here to offer help to the Mayors of the 104th, the School Districts, and any other public entities that need assistance. We are here to work through this as a community.
The Governor has issued a ‘stay at home’ order for all of Illinois starting March 21 at 5 pm through April 7, 2020. Here is what that means:
- You can still visit grocery stores and pharmacies
- We all can put gas in our car, go to the bank, take walks outside, visit your doctor, take your pets to the vet, and order food for take-out or delivery
- Roads will remain open
If you can work from home, and have not been already, now is the time to do so. All non-essential businesses must stop operating. By staying at home, we can keep each other safe and #SlowTheSpread of COVID-19 in Illinois.
The road ahead will not be easy, but I am committed to riding it out with all of you. We will do what we can together and we will prove ourselves worthy of wearing the mantle of those that came before us that faced great challenges. After all, we are Americans, and maybe when this chapter of our history is written, they will say that together and united, that this was “Our Finest Hour.”