By Jennifer Michels
Many agree that recognising the heroes who saved the lives and livelihoods of Australians during COVID-19 should be a very important aspect of Australian society moving forward. Scott Morrison suggests we essentially piggyback off Australia Day as a way of commemorating these individuals. Personally, I feel that is a little short sighted. COVID-19 is not an Australian problem, this is something that has impacted the entire world. Which leaves me asking about a day of commemorations dedicated to our heroes worldwide instead? How about a date to recognise the effort the COVID-19 heroes have made worldwide? Recognising the lives lost worldwide, the shutdown of economies worldwide and the sacrifices each and every member of society have made and continue to make, worldwide.
Quickly labeled as The Great Shutdown; a period in society that took us by utter surprise. Vast majorities came together in the beginning only to turn on each other, almost to the point of falling apart, before the pandemic had even finished the first sweep of the world. Fears were heard for a second spread and dare I say a third or fourth before the peak had been seen; a fear now sadly becoming a reality for many parts of the world, Australia included.
Moving forward this is a time in our life we could use to reflect upon in the future, a time used to bring us together and recognise how difficult our battle has been, and still is. Teaching our future children and grandchildren the important lessons this crushing blow has taught us. This is a time in our lives that has created unforeseen uncomfortably and unforgettable uncertainty worldwide!
The very people who worked night and day to save lives; who stepped up their rush of products for consumers; who spent hours longer cleaning the very places needed to provide essentials; who reinvented themselves to provide the absolute basic necessities! These are all heroes who need to be recorded upon the pages of history. Yes every worker is an essential worker during a crisis; but some are considered to have slightly more value, some deserve highlighting, some deserve more than we can ever give back! So why not honour them in the most significant manner society can and has ever provided?
Our leaders say let’s include a ceremony on a day our people cannot even agree about. I wonder how many feel the same as I do? I want to recognise the phenomenal impacts of this virus worldwide. Highlight the acts of kindness. Celebrate the lives saved while we also commemorate the lives lost. And I want this focus not just within Australia, but around the world. I want to see our countries come together after all the turmoil seen in recent times. This virus, international tensions, recessions, riots, the worldwide impacts of 2020 are going to be felt for generations. Why are our political leaders only looking to bring Australia together, not seeking the same with those we call our friends; our international neighbours. Extending the hand of healing towards our foreign relations on a never before seen worldwide scale.
Parts of the world come together for sporting events, education and for many other reasons. But have we ever had the need for such international recognition? Has anything impacted the planet with such drastic results? Lives have never before been lost on this scale, economies have never seen shifts of this magnitude. Even our impact on the environment has seen large scale change!
International partnerships have strained revealing many facets with rising complications. No single society can say they have avoided negative impacts in more than one area of their country’s ability to provide. Using these similarities can surely be a means of providing countries a deeper level of connection to each other, finding a wider understanding of each other, establishing a more open acceptance of each other. Coming together as a single people worldwide could surely go a long way to mending the cracks we are seeing in every society across this remarkable planet!
For nations who turned towards discussing commemorative events on an international scale; might aid in establishing new friendships that open up new avenues for trade between parties, while further establishing Australia’s positive relations on the world stage.
A comment I stumbled across on social media recently has stuck with me: we are humankind and should be both; human and kind. So, I for one say; “No, let’s not only celebrate on Australia Day. Let’s instead be the country that suggests generating worldwide communication, worldwide healing, and worldwide reconciliation for all of humanity in the aftermath of 2020.”
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