FILE – This Jan. 21, 2018, file photo, shows the Statue of Liberty in New York. A judge has ordered the U.S. Postal Service to pay $3.5 million to the sculptor of a Statue of Liberty replica at the New-York-New York casino-resort in Las Vegas after an image of the replica was mistakenly used on a stamp. Sculptor Robert Davidson sued the Postal Service for copyright infringement over the “forever” stamp design released in 2011 that featured the face of his Lady Liberty. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
It’s a strange time.
And, to me, it’s an interesting time. We’re living in a situation we’ve never before seen, one we likely (or, hopefully) will never see again.
The world’s operating differently, and with that change comes opportunity — to live differently, and also, in some ways, to do better.
Amid the challenges — as in times past — if you want to see the heart of America, look at her in moments of crisis.
When there’s a need, we come together. And some people are using the current state of quarantine, social distancing, and closures to help others.
Case in point: As reported by Raleigh’s CBS17, a Houston couple left a $9,400 meal tip in order to aid hurting restaurant employees.
Following a Harris County announcement that bars and nightclubs would be shutting down, the couple came into Irma’s Southwest Monday and dropped the nearly-$10,000 gratuity with a note:
“Hold tip to pay you guys over the next few weeks.”
The act left Assistant General Manager Janet Montez stunned but not altogether surprised by the source:
“This is beyond. I mean, I don’t even have words for it. It doesn’t surprise me because they’re so kind. Generous people. Always have been.”
It’ll come in handy, given that staff may be off work — according to owner Louis Galvan — for “15 to 30 days.”
“[T]he gift we got today should help soften the blow,” he said.
People are doing similarly from coast to coast.
In Walnut Creek, California, one dentist is offering free emergency services to relieve congested emergency rooms.
As per AFP, a coffee shop owner in Coos Bay, Oregon is taking the opportunity of the shutdown to host virtual story times for children.
In order to help at-greater-risk seniors, supermarkets across the country are reserving certain hours for people over 65 to shop — making sure they avoid the bigger crowds.
In Washington state — America’s current coronavirus Ground Zero — music venues are broadcasting live virtual concerts.
Some major entertainers are offering the same — country star Brad Paisley, for example, recently held a Facebook Live video of just him and his acoustic guitar, sitting in his Nashville studio, playing requested songs for fans while his wife held the camera.
The list is endless, because it’s how we are. What we are.
Who we are.
In San Diego, someone started a Facebook group to organize volunteer efforts; within days, the number of participants grew from just 50 members to 400.
In contrast to recent claims to the contrary, the truth is that America is still a City on a Hill.
And it’s a nation of those cities.
Every giving heart is there, atop a foundation of compassion, shining a light for those in the darkness of need.
It’s what we do.
And in times of uncertainty such as this, just look out your window and you’ll see the lights all around. Brightening the world — yours and mine. As we try to be lights, too. As we reach out to help those for whom we care. Including those we’ve never met.
In this time, as in all times, may God Bless America.
And may we bless others, as we know we have been blessed.
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