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Time to make the new year better than the old

Here we are at the start of a new year.

We leave a year in 2020 that is best forgotten, although sometime in the future we’ll recall that horrible year and reminisce what it was like back then. We’ll sit back and tell our children, or grandchildren, or great-grandchildren about those times and how we managed to survive a pandemic and all the other disasters and problems associated with 2020.

Yes, the year will be stored and locked away in our memories until at some point later in life we’ll open the vault and all we remember will come out in a series of anecdotes, tall tales and very accurate (to our recollections) notes on history.

But until then, we have a new year to contend with and hopefully, 2021 will be better than its predecessor.

This new year will have its own set of challenges, but hopefully we’ve learned from our experiences and can apply those lessons to make this year better than its predecessor.

The first order of business will be to eliminate or at least reduce the threat of COVID-19 and that will take a nationwide effort, and just as Americans on the home front in World War II made sacrifices, we must do the same. But instead of things like rationing and blackouts, we’ll be doing things like wearing masks, practicing social distancing, avoiding indoor — and in some cases, outdoor — events when social distancing is not possible.

I know some people balk, nay, outright protest the use of masks despite the fact that masks do help with preventing the spread of the disease. My family and I have, so far, been fortunate to avoid the disease by wearing our masks when we go out, so they must have some benefit.

And if you doubt whether COVID-19 is serious, go ask North Ward Alderman Michael Mayfield or my brother and his wife how they “enjoyed” their time with the disease.

Of course, the second part of reducing the threat of the pandemic is lining up to take the vaccination, which is my fear. You see, I have a phobia about needles that goes back to my very much younger years when I caught practically every childhood disease plus pneumonia when I was in the first grade (I caught the mumps a couple of years earlier). And judging from the video I’ve seen, they use a pretty long needle to give that shot.

Getting stuck will be the hardest thing I’ll have to do in this whole situation. I wonder if I can get attacked from the rear.

So the new year is upon us and it is up to us to make it better than 2020. That is something we can do if we accept responsibility to make things better like take steps to reduce the effects of the pandemic and take steps to resolve our differences and decide together to move forward.

As the Chamber Brothers song says, “Time has come today.” How we use that time to improve ourselves and the nation will determine if 2021 is better than 2020 or the same.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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