In Summer, Highland Falls, Billy Joel aptly sings; They say that these are not the best of times. But they are the only times we’ll ever know.*
I think that his message is to live life to it’s fullest, every single day. No matter what faith we may subscribe to, I believe that the only thing we do know with absolute certainty is that we are here, now.
And, to that, I would add that we also live in Extraordinary Times.
It all depends on how you look at it.
Certainly, the current climate and corresponding fears created by the presence of Covid-19 (a.k.a. The Corona Virus) can be frightening. It has been declared a Global Pandemic and, therefore, has altered the very nature of how we live our daily lives. Our movements have been restricted. Work and, therefore, money and savings have been lost. Even simple pleasures like to going to a movie, restaurant, or bar have been curtailed. Major cities have issued quarantines and curfews. And, it’s just beginning.
But, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, if you remove the fear of the uncertain, it is also an extraordinary time to be alive.
If you take the proper precautions, use common sense, follow the instructions of the appropriate professionals, and mix it with a little good luck, you will be able to tell (warn) future generations: Yes, I survived a Global Pandemic.
And, for better or worse, few other generations can make that claim.
If I should survive this (and, I’m planning to), I will add it to the list of exceptional experiences that I have had in my 65 years, many with a front row seat.
Because of my profession, I have had both the privilege and challenge of witnessing, first hand, some of the most significant events of my generation. Here are a few:
- I filmed a documentary in China just as it was entering its “modern” era.
- I spent 8 days documenting the events of 911 at Ground Zero.
- I covered every political convention, including both the Democratic and Republican Nationals since 2004.
- I personally witnessed the acceptance speech and subsequent Inauguration of our Country’s first Black President, Barack Obama.
- I have worked in the White House Press Room.
- I was in the Javitz Center in New York when Hillary Clinton realized that she had lost the 2016 Presidential Election.
- I survived many hurricanes, including Katrina and Sandy.
- I’ve been so close to a Space Shuttle launch that I could feel the power of its thrust on my chest. And, I’ve seen it land in the dead of night.
- I was in Rome for 30 days and witnessed directly from St. Peter’s the election of Pope Francis I.
- I was stationed at Buckingham Palace for the Royal Wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William.
- I spent weeks on the Gulf Coast covering the disastrous BP oil spill.
- I have experienced many a Mardi Gras as well as New Year’s Eves in Times Square.
- I’ve been on the field at the 50 yard line in front of 80,000+ fans for both professional and college football games.
- I have photographed just about every major celebrity of our time.
- I’ve been married, separated, and dumped.
- I have loved many and lost just as many.
- I have survived this Country’s endless wars, including Vietnam, the Gulf, and all of the other “conflicts”.
And, now, we are in the midst of another earth-altering epoch. Many predicted that it was just a matter of time before we did something to sabotage ourselves. Often, humans can be their own worst enemy. Be that as it may (and, a conversation for another post), it can only defeat us if it succeeds in dividing us. So, it’s up to EVERYONE to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Help one another. Care for one another. And, we may just get through this — together. Then, we can add it as another bullet point to our very own, real-life Curriculum Vitae — I survived a Global Pandemic.
And, that, my friends, is EXTRAORDINARY.