My Dear Freind Roger Dibble posted this on is Facebook page, I think it is a good read! Helps put things into perspective!
A friend of mine sent this to me to help put some things in perspective. It’s kinda long but pretty enlightening and well worth thinking about. Stay safe my friends.
You think it’s a mess out there now? Hard to discern between what’s a real threat and what is just simple panic and hysteria. For a bit of perspective at this moment……..
… imagine you were born in 1900:
… On your 14th birthday, World War I begins; it ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war.
… Later that year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50-million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.
… On your 29th birthday, the stock market crashes, and the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy.
… When you turn 39, Germany invades Poland and World War II begins. You aren’t even over the hill yet. But don’t try to catch your breath, because…
… On your 41st birthday, the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and the United States is fully drawn into WWII. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war.
… At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish.
… At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict.
… On your 62nd birthday, the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War, nearly triggers a nuclear weapons exchange with the Soviet Union. Life on our planet, as we know it, should have ended. Great leaders prevented that from happening.
… When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends. Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How do you survive all of that?
When you were a kid in 1985, you didn’t think your 85-year old grandparents understood how hard school was. Or how mean that kid in your class was. Yet they survived through every crisis listed above.
Perspective is an amazing art, refined as time goes on and enlightening in unbelievable ways. Let’s try and keep things in perspective. Abraham Lincoln famously said, “This, too, shall pass.” Let’s be smart, help each other out, and we will get through all of this, because, “This, too, shall pass.”
From this week:
Spanish Flu – Mogollon New Mexico
October of 1918: Spanish Flu Hits Mogollon, New Mexico
Eight years ago, members of my family and I visited the remote New Mexico ghost town of Mogollon. It’s located at the Southern reaches of the Rocky Mountains, in a rugged region known as the Gila Wilderness. The most memorable part of the day was the visit to the cemetery, located on a steep ridge above the small town. We were immediately struck by how many people were laid to rest in October of 1918. Plot after plot were marked by what must have been an incredibly tragic and painful month for the small mining community. It became obvious that the second wave of the Spanish flu had made its way to this extremely remote mining town.
Thinking about what people must have suffered during that October kept my mind on the catastrophe for next few days. I imagined the horror people must have felt when a member of their family started coughing in the middle of the night. I wondered how draining it must have been on the priest and pastor of the town, constantly comforting devastated family members and making the frequent trip up the mountain to perform graveside services. In some cases, more than once a day. It was a steep twenty to thirty minute climb, which was steep enough to require a few rest stops along the way.
Recent events took my mind back to that day and I finally had to make the drive and visit the graveyard once again. I wanted to see if there were details had forgotten. As I started walking through the graveyard, I did notice one surprising detail that I had missed on my earlier visit. Almost all the victims were young adults. I tried to reconcile that fact that most influenza outbreaks hit the mainly young children and aged the hardest. The headstones were consistent, the age of death fell between eighteen and the late thirties.
No plot illustrated this more than the Bustamante family plot. This plot represented a tale of sorrow deeper than any that I can recall. This family’s decimation started on October 10th when the first and youngest person in the plot, eighteen-year-old Alberto Bustamante lost his fight with the flu. During the next eighteen days six other family members joined him, their ages ranging from twenty to thirty. While this seems awesomely devastating, I failed to notice one of the headstones until I started looking at the photos that I had taken that day. When I saw an enlarged phot of the family plot on my laptop, I noticed that there was one person laid to rest, whose age and date of death did not match the others. It was Jose Bustamante and he was likely the family Patriarch. He died three years later to the month, at the age of seventy-two. That means that in eighteen days, Jose made the trip up to cemetery six times, once burying two family members on October 20th.
I have tried to imagine the scene of the six funerals that Jose endured, especially the trip up to the cemetery. He may have walked up behind a horse drawn carriage holding the body of his much younger family members. He may have ridden in a carriage himself. He may have followed six pallbearers carrying the casket. Whatever the procession looked like; I do not think we could possibly comprehend the brain scrambling pain Jose suffered. Parents and Grandparents know of the dreams we have for the younger generations. To see your prodigy taken so suddenly and watch those dreams disappear, isn’t something I even like to think about. I can’t imagine Jose’s mind ever being able to wonder far from those eighteen days in October of 1918. From the looks of the cemetery, he must have had a large support group of people who understood his pain. I hope Jose was a man of faith and felt the comfort that he would be reunited with his family but surely death was a welcome event when it came three years later.
What I witnessed at the Mogollon cemetery seemed to run counter to our current pandemic. Covid-19 is consistently causing death of older folks along with those already suffering from serious health issues. The Mogollon cemetery representing deaths occurring in October of 1918, indicated that was young adults victimized by the Spanish flu. I did some research on the Spanish flu and whereas the average age of a victim of Covid-19 is nearly eighty years, the average age of the Spanish flu victim was only twenty-eight. Epidemiologist state that the reason it killed so many young adults, was that it triggered their stronger immune systems. This caused a cytokine storm, which results in swelling of the lung tissue and powerful pneumonia type symptoms. The older folks were thought to have developed a partial immunity from a related virus they had experienced late in the previous century. As a result, the old buried the young.
The strain that found its way to Mogollon was part of the second and deadliest wave of the flu of 1918. It was thought to have mutated to its more fatal form in Europe in early August and made its way by ship to Boston in September. From there it must have been carried by rail to Silver City, NM and then down a dirt road for sixty miles to Glenwood. From there it would have traveled up an extremely steep dirt road to Mogollon. The road was so steep that my Grandfather had to put his delivery truck in reverse to make it up the mountain a few decades later. In that era, reverse was geared lower than first. It must have taken a brave man to do that using side view mirrors. The road is still a challenging drive in its paved form.
It seems amazing that this virus could have traveled to every corner of the earth in such a short time, considering that there was no air travel in 1918. Not only did it make it to Mogollon, but any location that accepted any kind of travel from outside its community. Whether it be a remote mountain town or remote island. One of the remote islands it made its way was Brevig, off the shores of Nome, Alaska. It was there that the body of an obese Inupiat woman was exhumed, and her infected lung tissue harvested. This enabled scientist to observe the RNA structure of the virus which had been protected in the
By the time the Spanish flu completed its third wave, one third of the world’s population had been infected. Death counts range from twenty million to sixty-five million. We lost more soldiers to the flu than to combat. The USA lost a total of 675,000 people to the flu, in a nation of just over one hundred million. 1918 was the only year in which the United States fell in population, a feat not accomplished by the Civil War. The number deaths caused by the Spanish flu would be the equivalent of losing slightly over two million in today’s America.