COVID-19 Observer
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COVID-19 Observer

The Greatest Adjective is Free

By Sam Alix

The American flag, symbol of freedom
Photo by Steven Abraham on Unsplash

FREE: Not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be as one wishes.

For veterans that I serve with in our nonprofit organization, CHAMP, the last year and a few months have brought many challenges and obstacles, even trauma. Being restricted in our movements and activities was not the most difficult part in my experience, however; the uncertainty and misinformation were. From hoax claims to politicizing, this left a mark that COVID-19 or the subsequent roll-out on their own never could have.

Pre-COVID-19, veterans marched to the beat and knew the cycle of life. The sound of marching boots and barked commands are perfectly natural to us. Post-COVID-19, veterans are seeking to grab a piece of driftwood, a lifeline, anything, to feel like America again, a place that constitutes FREE.

With that said, as the sun begins to rise and birds begin to chirp in the COVID landscape, what have I seen as the light at the end of the tunnel for those I serve? The number one takeaway from COVID-19 is the simple, vital adjective FREE!

The veterans community is used to taking orders and doing things we don’t necessarily agree with. Complaining, moaning and griping are as normal to military service as apple pie on the 4th of July. Everyone in the military and post-military complains. It’s no secret that veterans have strong opinions about the Veterans Administration system. Same thing.

What is different this time is the fact that freedom itself was compromised. Delaying an adequate response because of politics put veterans, especially older veterans, in harm’s way and other veterans in a polarizing position. Not good for veterans who believe that freedom was paid for in blood, sweat and tears, not politics.

The very thing that has come to define America’s reputation around the world is threatened to a point that our division is the largest since the Civil War. What is at stake? Nothing less than FREEDOM!

So my advice to you is threefold. One is membership. Get involved locally supporting community outreach such as the Wall of Memories community walk and bench dedication on June 10. Second, fellowship with others that need hope, inspiration and purpose. Something as simple as a text or a cup of coffee can change someone’s life trajectory. Lastly, stewardship is vital in creating a population with tools to critically think for themselves instead of accepting one-sided propaganda. Start today!

Sam Alix is a co-founder of CHAMP, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing wellness activities to veterans and their families. Learn more at www.champ.vet. This appeared on COVID-19 Wall of Memories on June 8, 2021.

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COVID-19 Wall of Memories

COVID-19 Wall of Memories

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COVID-19 Wall of Memories memorializes the lives of COVID-19 victims while serving as a source of information about its impact on the United States.