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  • Writer's pictureAmyanne rigby

Looking back- from Pandemic to Pandemic

No matter how many times I see this photo it continues to blow me away. And now, 100 years later I am living in a time of pandemic much like the one of 1918. Look at the men and their solemn faces. Their clothing tells of the harsh realities of life and the flag draped over the coffin tells of a time of war, a time of heartache.

Last week, I received the first round of the COVID vaccine. It seems strange that I should have such a blessing when most still wait. Last week COVID took the lives of two members of the ward I grew up in- one was only 50 years old. The other lived well and left behind a legacy. Every day, I stand before my students with a mask on my face and I ask myself? "Is this really happening?" And yet each night while I prepare dinner I receive the latest numbers- to date COVID-19 has claimed the lives of over 400,00 people. The Spanish flu ended the lives of over 600,000- the virus kill the young, Old and In- Between.

I continue to pray that I will not grieve the loss of a loved one during this pandemic- that I will not need to embrace a mother's grief as my great great grandmother Harriet Rosella did or that of a sister, Sophia Dickson (my great grandmother). I wish Jared and Abel could have lived to share their stories.

From the personal history of Forde Dickson Weaver, The Life and Works, I share the story of this photo

"In the Fall of 1918 my next brother Jared enlisted in the Army and was stationed at For Logan, Colorado. This was the year that the great Spanish influenza plague swept the country. The little town of Richville had its gethsemane too. Dozens died in only a few days. Our casualty came when our older brother, Abel J. Dickson, succumbed to the dread disease on 16th of October 1918, leaving a wife and five young children, and in another two days we received word that Jared had passed away at Fort Logan. Mother had the disease, Elbern was down, and I was sick. Abel was buried without a funeral and only a few remarks were given at the graveside...The sadness filled our home was almost more than we could take. In several days Jared's corpse arrived at Morgan. We were there to meet the train, and as we went into the car for his remains, we noticed that the train was full of caskets...We brought him (Jared) and carried the casket into the house for mother to view. This was more than I could take, and so I went upstairs and was followed by Elbern, who said, "Mother will be the next to die." I knew that Mother would not die at that time because I had received a witness that she would live until I became a man"... Jared was buried in the Richville cemetery by his brother Abel."


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