One positive result of shelter-in-place when you live in the South Loop of Chicago; walking to see the iconic statues in our parks. While it must be done observing social distancing, it has become an enjoyable habit for my wife and me. It became clearer for me today when I read Ryan Holiday's blog "The Daily Stoic." In his blog Ryan shares a theme we've all seen frequently; the pandemic is terrible and yet, human beings have endured and continued on an upward trend long-term.
How do our walks, General Logan and Ryan's blog connect?
Well, when I reach the top of the statue it frequently dawns on me that our new friend John did in fact endure greater challenges than our current pandemic.
Consider these numbers from HistoryNet:
Union Civil War Casualties
Combat Deaths: Over 110,000 Other Deaths*: Over 250,000
Confederate Civil War Casualties
Combat Deaths: Over 95,000 Other Deaths*: Over 165,000
(*Other Deaths include, among others: disease (by far the most common cause of death), accidents, drowning, heat stroke, suicide, murder, execution.)
Though the number of killed and wounded in the Civil War is not known precisely, most sources agree that the total number killed was between 640,000 and 700,000. That provides some perspective for the pandemic's impact currently at 160,000.
General John A Logan was involved in the Mexican-American war and eight battles in the American Civil War. To my thinking he faced a more divisive country in his time than we do today and survived to become a US Senator from Illinois. There is hope.
These lines from Franklin D. Roosevelt's Fourth Inaugural Address on Saturday, January 20, 1945 capture that hope well:
I remember that my old schoolmaster, Dr. Peabody, said, in days that seemed to us then to be secure and untroubled: "Things in life will not always run smoothly. Sometimes we will be rising toward the heights--then all will seem to reverse itself and start downward. The great fact to remember is that the trend of civilization itself is forever upward; that a line drawn through the middle of the peaks and the valleys of the centuries always has an upward trend."
There is hope.