Remaining confident in the face of great personal losses

  • David Dial

    David Dial

 
By David Dial
Guest columnist
Updated 1/3/2021 12:12 PM

As the dawn of a new year approaches, I suspect that most of us will be glad to put 2020 in our rear view mirrors. I know I will.

What began with an absurd television production about some guy who called himself "Tiger King" ended with an ongoing pandemic that has resulted in the deaths of more than 300,000 American lives. Included in those lives lost was one of the brightest people I have ever met and a good friend, Don Reed.

 

Don died earlier this month.

I first met Don almost two decades ago, when we were both attending a graduate program at the Center for Homeland Defense and Security in Monterey, California. Don was a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel who devoted his life to the security of this country.

After the 9/11 attacks, the Department of Defense created the U.S. Northern Command in Colorado Springs. Don worked there as a civilian employee after his military career. Those who knew Don have described him as a true patriot in every sense of the word.

I write about this because Don's passing has touched me personally. But I know that I am not alone. COVID-19 has impacted millions of other Americans in a similar fashion.

This disease has touched me not only by a sense of loss, but also by a sense of great respect and admiration for the front-line heroes who have had to deal with this day in and day out for most of this year.

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I am, of course, talking about the healthcare workers and the first responders who have worked tirelessly to help others. I am also talking about the less visible people who have given so much of themselves to the service of others -- the support staff of all of the agencies responsible the life-saving efforts of their coworkers.

I am amazed, too, by the dedicated efforts of the scientists who have brought us the much needed vaccines that are required to get our country and our world back to some sense of normalcy. They will also be recognized as heroes in our history books.

I know that this pandemic will leave behind a sense of loss for most of us by this time next year, but am confident we will be able to face new challenges that will come our way.

My hope for everyone is that you can stay positive and test negative.

• David Dial is chair of the Department of Criminal Justice at Aurora University and former Naperville police chief.

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