Take Time To Strengthen Our Resiliency
Natural disasters like Tropical Storm Isaias — the latest storm to batter Newtown — along with the unanticipated and virtually unimaginable COVID-19 pandemic may have caused our community’s collective resilience to occasionally or momentarily falter.
But much as local institutions (or icons) like our towering flagpole, with its majestic stars and stripes wafting in the warm breeze; Edmond Town Hall, which discovered its newest attraction is something as old school as a drive-in movie; the C.H. Booth Library, with its parking lot Wi-Fi and clever, contact-free material pickups; and even the venerable Newtown Bee — this town and its icons, institutions, leaders, citizens, and our determined first responders have a tendency to stand strongest in the face of adversity.
These latest hits — the coronavirus that has sickened hundreds of our neighbors and taken dozens of our treasured citizens, and this tropical storm that did more damage to our utility lifelines and tree stock than any half-dozen serious weather events before it — also provided countless opportunities for residents, town employees, volunteers, and neighbors to go beyond the call to be “nicer” than ever.
At the same time, these hits triggered alterations and temporary closures of many institutions, businesses, and government services.
Isaias took its swipe, darkening The Newtown Bee and delaying our last edition’s release by a full day — this, too soon after the newspaper was sidelined for weeks this spring as its owners pivoted to a minimally staffed, daily internet feed to ensure all but a handful of essential employees were not threatened by COVID-19. Edmond Town Hall, our local library, and other familiar facilities like the Community Center, the NYA, the Municipal Center, our schools — even our parks, ponds, and pools — had to be closed temporarily or remain closed for the same reason.
Throughout Connecticut’s darkest days this spring, when our state was among the most ravaged in the nation by COVID-19, our Main Street flag not only flew proudly, but for a lengthy period was lowered to half-staff as a reminder of those whose lives were cut short by the global pandemic. And somewhere in our newspaper’s early coverage of Isaias is a perspective of our Main Street flag being not just lowered, but temporarily removed by Hook & Ladder volunteers to keep it intact as the powerful storm loomed.
Its brief period of absence from our community’s skyline could figuratively represent a realization that once in a while, everyone and everything may need respite.
As Newtown continues to dig out and re-energize both figuratively and literally from storm Isaias, we should allow ourselves a moment or two to stop, breathe, count our blessings, and renew our individual sense of resiliency. Like temporary closures, or the brief removal of our icons and institutions to protect and ensure their collective continuity, so should we all consider taking a brief pause before turning our energies and spirit once again toward healthier days and clearer skies.
This week’s editorial is by Newtown Bee Associate Editor John Voket.