We are now in the midst of a global pandemic that will redefine humanity’s world to a degree not seen since World War II.

It is truly a defining moment. How we choose to act now will set the stage not just for what the world looks like during the rest of our lives, but what it looks like during the lives of our children and grandchildren.

Even today, a lifetime after WWII ended, we still hold those who fought and died, as well as those who contributed in countless other ways, in the highest regard. They made almost unimaginable sacrifices; they placed the greater good above their own. They faced overwhelming challenges and took them on, even when they could have chosen easier ways out.

Will we be remembered 75 years from now with any of the same reverence we hold for those who sacrificed in that global conflict?

That is up to us.

We must make sacrifices as individuals, as businesses, as communities, as government. We must choose to be not just friendly, but proactively compassionate.

Individuals must choose to use social distance, isolation and quarantining to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in its tracks. Governments must enact strong measures that reinforce these best practices and keep trouble-makers in line.

Governments at all levels and businesses like banks must enact policies that proactively protect impoverished people and small businesses from unnecessary harm. No one should be worrying about whether they can afford their credit card bill, mortgage or utilities while there’s such a dire threat covering the globe.

People must choose not to stigmatize those who get sick from COVID-19. We must show them and their families compassion and care; shame and blame will only help the virus spread.

We must ignore the temptation to make any of this about politics; and we must not let fear of this virus lead us down the dark and flawed path of racism. We must not listen to those who would use this threat to divide humanity into “us” and “them.”

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that many people, businesses and organizations are already making these hard choices and sacrifices. Many are setting the examples and leading us toward a legacy we can be proud of for generations to come. But we do still need more people who choose to step up and face the challenges ahead.

We must all work together as we have in past great moments of crisis if we are going to rise to the challenge.

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