In: Opinions & Features

12.07.2020 | Star-Ledger

By Steve Brozak and Henry Bassman

Today’s U.S. reaction to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic is markedly different than it was to World War II, say New Jerseyans Steve Brozak, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant colonel, and Henry Bassman, a former U.S. Army captain who served in Vietnam. Above, the photo was taken from a Japanese plane during the torpedo attack on ships moored on both sides of Ford Island. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

Nearly as many Americans or more will die today and every day for the foreseeable future from COVID-19 than the 2,403 killed in the infamous Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941, which brought the United States into World War II. An even grimmer milestone will occur this week when U.S. coronavirus deaths exceed all 291,557 combat deaths during World War II.

The reaction of America to the coronavirus pandemic is vastly different than the reaction of America to World War II. The response of the American government and its people to World War II marked our ascendancy to the world’s most powerful economic and technological leader. The reaction to this pandemic by the U.S. government and our divided American populace may very well mark the descendancy of the U.S. to a secondary player in the economic and technological world stage.

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