An Opinion Piece – By Bob Tortorice, Ret. Vet. US. Navy
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Ammonoosuc Community Health or its providers. If you have questions or concerns related to this article and your personal health care, please consult with your primary care or behavioral health provider.
Fellow Vets how many times did we stand in line, with T-Shirts and skivvies waiting for either a single shot of who knows what or better yet in Bootcamp getting 5 shots at a time or shots in both arms at the same time. We didn’t wimp out. Yes, we complained, but we didn’t step out of line. We took it in the arm (no pun intended).
Even though we balked, we knew the shots were in our best interest. We joked that “we had to be alive for them or the enemy to kill us”.
“Let’s not push each other into the grave any sooner than planned.”
No vaccine or government mandate is going to take away your birthday, but if we don’t get the vaccine how can we have our buddies six? What we signed up for was not only to protect and serve the US but also to make sure we all got back home as healthy as possible. Our responsibility to our fellow warriors didn’t end with a DD214, we proudly carry the “Vet status” to the grave.
Let’s not push each other into the grave any sooner than planned. Stand in that line again, get the vaccine and booster. Save your life, your buddies, and your country.
What would General Washington do?
Now a little history lesson. These vaccines for the military started with our first commander, General George Washington during the revolutionary war, so it’s nothing new.
Back in the colonial days, when the newly minted Continental Army was fighting for independence from the British, it wasn’t bayonets and red coats they feared most… it was Variola – or the Smallpox virus. At that time, 90% of the deaths among the regular troops who served in the American Revolution were caused by disease, and the smallpox virus was the most vicious of them all. (Gabriel and Metz 1992, 107)
The British had a strong advantage over the virus as their troops were largely immune. Inoculation was widespread in Europe. This was a major problem for Washington (pun intended), who was worried about the health of his troops. Fearing for his army and our nation’s freedom, he wrote to Congress to let them know his plans to inoculate the entire Continental Army. By the end of 1777, more than 11 hospitals had been constructed for the purpose of overseeing mass inoculation.
With Smallpox better in check for the troops, they were able to focus on defeating the enemy. The British who relied on local native American tribes, and deserters who were not vaccinated did not fare so well.
Thinking broadly of the long-term health for all is key!
We all know the outcome of the Revolutionary War, and of George Washington’s military expertise. Thinking broadly of the long-term health of his Army, and of the nation, was the key to Washington and the nation’s success.
As a retired Veteran, I am still mystified why many Americans today are choosing not to be vaccinated. If you are willing to take a bullet for your country, why not a shot?
The continued success of science and vaccines is evident. Centuries of success, with vaccines for Smallpox, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and Flu have saved countless civilizations from peril. Today, as we sit amidst a pandemic similar in scope to Smallpox, we should learn from our past leaders and the troops who supported them.
Get vaccinated, get the booster…save yourself and the population.
To learn more about the COVI9 vaccine and how to get your vaccine or booster shot visit our COVID info page.