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As a Marine Corps Vietnam war veteran, I periodically visit the Vietnam memorial wall at Sunset Cemetery to visit a number of my fellow Marines who didn’t make it home. Semper Fi. The sheer number of names on that wall never ceases to amaze me. How did it ever go on for so long after I returned? If you haven’t visited the wall you should, to pay respect to those who gave their all for this country.

Now, I see the number of people who have died from this pandemic exceeds the names on this wall, while we have the proven means to reduce the number of infections. These means are: to mask up and maintain a safe distance in public and especially in enclosed spaces. In fact, I think these means should be mandated by law, not simply recommended. Why should we have a seat belt law to protect car occupants, and not have a law to protect the public? How is it that we should show respect for our fallen warriors but not the living?

I recall a song by the late great Aretha Franklin encouraging us to show just a little “respect.”

I also recall back in grade school learning about lemmings following each other over a cliff and wondering, “why does this happen?” I still don’t know, but it seems similar to what is happening with a third of our country following our narcissistic leader’s refusal to mask up. This clearly shows a lack of respect and failure of Leadership 101 by not setting an example.

The only thing I can figure is it must have something to do with evolution and cleansing the gene pool. Trump’s refusal to mask up and show respect for the living certainly puts him in the running for the 2020 Darwin Award.

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Chester W. Hansen

Bozeman