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This blog post is part 2 in a series answering the question, "Is this the end of the world?" Check out part 1.
I recently watched a mini-series called Chernobyl on HBO. While I do not endorse HBO and did not get on the Game of Thrones band wagon, I recently found this show worth my time. With Spring Break on my hands I have been watching all the streaming services. I opted in for a free 7-day trial of HBO. WARNING: there is full-frontal male nudity of men mining in extreme heat, based off the recreation of dramatized events.
Chernobyl gives a good narrative of the USSR nuclear power plant explosion that occurred on April 26, 1986. The show begins with the explosion and it is made clear that no one believed a nuclear power plant could explode. It could shut down or melt down, but to go up in flames was unprecedented and unpredictable.
Seeing this show play out as fireman tried to pick up what they thought was building debris but was actually nuclear graphite from the control rods within the core of the reactor was eye opening to say the least. Watching these firemen touch something that is going to kill them in a very painful and grotesque way was haunting. No one knew that the core exploding was a possibility and so no one was told, “Hey, don’t touch that it’s from the core of a nuclear reactor.”
Viktor Sushko of the National Research Centre for Radiation Medicine said that Chernobyl is the,
“Largest anthropogenic disaster in the history of humankind.”Viktor Sushko, 2018
Upwards of 800,000 have been impacted by radiation as a result of the fallout that ensued from the explosion and radioactive debris that was released world-wide. The idea that if these scientists didn't find a way to stop a possible nuclear reaction, then half of Europe could be wiped out, must have felt like the end of the world.
It is this type of series that has had me processing the same thing ever since I learned about the Civil War in Middle School and into college as part of my major. One of my favorite college level courses was on the Civil War and I soaked up every ounce of information I could.
There are times in human history where it was worse than it is now and we can’t even imagine what the end of the world might be like. Learning about the military doctors and nurses having to deal with the influx of soldiers who were losing limbs by the thousands was sobering.
The Civil War was just the start of what would paint the next 150 years of not just American history but world history. We can watch movies and documentaries and read books, but could you imagine being engulfed in trench warfare in the Great War? Can you imagine the undeterred use of the German U-Boat that significantly damaged if not all but destroyed British and French naval fleets? Can you imagine being in the blood-soaked mud on the Western front with no end in sight? It must have looked like hell.
The war to end all wars was only to be outdone by World War II. The bombing of Pearl Harbor was the closest attack to the continental United States at that time and Japan flexed it’s might by stepping into our backyard. Americans felt the weight of the chaos of almost the entire world at war. Did you know that the allied forces were unaware of the events of the Holocaust until after victory was declared and allied forces moved into the concentration camps to find what had been done in secret for years?
The number of all causalities range from 69,000,000 to 84,000,000. Eighty-four million; millions upon millions of people died. This is not including the sick or injured who died in the following years.
The world has been through hell and we pray there will never be another World War but it seems to be on everyone’s mind. First it was the cold war, then the terrorist attacks on 9/11 that turned Manhattan into what looked like a war zone. Even most recently the conflict in Iran has had people on edge because of Iran's possible nuclear capabilities.
“War is hell,” to quote my favorite general from the Civil War, William Tecumseh Sherman. I still remember reading about “Sherman’s march to the sea,” as he cut off the supply lines of the confederate army.
What does all this have to do with Covid-19 and our current predicament? If the least is that we need to stay indoors and the worst is that we have an exhausted medical system that will require both private sector and federal intervention; I think we are doing okay. The fact that we have the ability to slow the spread of this virus by staying inside and not rioting in the streets is a gift.
If I run out of toilet paper, after having traveled to third world countries where I pack my own because you can’t find any, then I’m in a life of luxury.
The Last Day of Regret won an award from Jenkins Group Publishing. The kindle version is on sale for $7.99 on Amazon.
Perspective is one of the gifts that our soldiers fought, bled and have died for. The perspective and hopefully appreciation for America’s ability to overcome the worst of what the world has thrown at us. The great American experiment is far from over and is being tested in every generation.
Does this work? Do we believe what was written in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal? It has taken time to flesh out “all men” but we have come a long way. Most importantly, however; is the following words that we as free individuals have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as endowed by our Creator.
World War II veterans are becoming few and far between so when you see one, shake their hand and say, “Welcome Home.” As well, Vietnam veterans who fought in a losing battle still need to be welcomed home as one's who were serving their country with loyalty.
Is this the end of the world? Far from it because the world has been through much, much worse. In the next blog post we will look at what the Bible says, to see if we can unlock some of its apocalyptic writing.
Paul understood suffering as much if not more than many of us, he wrote to the church in Rome during his third missionary journey while preaching in Corinth, and said this:
“If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.”Romans 14:8-9, ESV
Amen, come Lord Jesus, come!
In Truth & Love,
Matthew J Diaz