116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Last week, as my granddaughters returned to school with no guarantee that their classmates will be responsibly masked, I thought of the dangers and disruption my parents faced during World War II.
My mother abandoned dreams of university. She worked throughout the war, instead, as a secretary at a hospital in the City of London, surrounded by falling bombs.
Their house badly damaged in an air raid, my father’s family spent nights sheltering under the kitchen table. While his siblings evacuated around the country, my father slept at his London school on a cot in a crowded underground passageway.
Both observed strict blackout regulations, submitted ration coupons when buying food or clothing, and carried their gas masks everywhere. Such restrictions continued for six years — more in the case of rationing.
This was a crisis requiring strong leadership that inspired citizens to sacrifice personal liberty for the common good. Yet, as we face our own life-threatening crisis, Gov. Kim Reynolds continues to exacerbate divisions in society, refusing to mandate measures that would protect all of us and even forbidding local leaders to act in our best interest.
Carrying the genes of their great-grandparents, my granddaughters stoically wear their masks at school. I am glad they are scraps of fabric, not gas masks, and that my parents did not have to rely on the leadership of Kim Reynolds in World War II.