Just a month ago the coronavirus was something “they” had to worry about as “we” went about our normal lives, seemingly shielded from the spread of the disease inside our imagined cocoon of safety here in Tullahoma.

What a difference a month makes. It’s March 29 and the enemy is at the gates. It’s no longer a story you just see on the evening news or something that can be dismissed by sticking our collective heads in the sand, hoping it will simply go away. It is a war being waged by an invisible invader forcing each man, woman and child to become a front-line soldier against this menace. It has made us all change our lives, at least for the time being, and accept a new-normal – even though it is hard to see anything “normal” about what we are facing.

Here at the Tullahoma News, we have closed our front doors to walk-in traffic to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to customers and staff. We will continue covering the news with both up-to-the-minute online updates and with our two print editions each week. And, our stories involving COVID-19 will all be placed in front of our website’s pay wall so anyone may view them at no cost. We will focus on ensuring www.tullahomanews.com stays updated with all COVID-19 related information, and anyone with an internet connection – subscriber or not – can access that information.

Like most of you, we have made sacrifices in the name of the common good. That’s what a community does. At times like these, more than any other, neighbor needs to help neighbor. It’s not about what you can do for yourself; it’s what you can do for others. A good man taught us this over 2,000 years ago, showing by example that we should do unto others.

Like you, we are disheartened by the display of selfish “me-first” behavior shown by many folks who set out hoarding things like toilet paper, hand sanitizer, surgical masks, milk, bread and other staples. We understand getting food and supplies, but there’s been plenty of over-the-top hoarding putting mothers, children, the sick and the elderly at risk as they may not have the basics they need due to the swarms that wiped out the local supply chain.

It has been said that times of stress define character; we say it only amplifies it. Those with a good character will step up and meet the challenge to our community during these uncertain times. They will come out stronger in the end and be able to look others in the eye. Make no mistake, people will remember how you conducted yourself during this trial. We are all building our legacies and reputations for that time when life returns to somewhat normal. How will you be thought of by others when this is all done? Will you be remembered as the person pushing the buggy full of toilet paper through the supermarket or the person who reached out to those in need even when you were worried about your own future?

In the end, most of us are going to be fine. We are making these sacrifices for others – the elderly, the very young, those with compromised immune systems. Don’t treat this like you are trying to avoid getting the virus; treat it like you have it yourself and are trying to protect others from getting it.

Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you, not only so that you can hold your head up high after this is passed, but also because it’s the right thing to do. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Our Viewpoint is a staff editorial from The Tullahoma News.

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