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Memorial Day 2020

Remember pandemics?

Can’t live with’em, can’t live without’em, time immemorial. A pandemic isn’t a bug; it’s a feature.

“Let them eat cake.” Marie-Antoinette?

No, Rousseau: he “remembered a great princess” who said, “Q’ils mangent de la brioche.” Brioche is a luxury bread enriched with butter and eggs, not “gâteau” (cake). Marie-Antoinette never said such a thing, she was ten years old at the time Rousseau spoke, and he didn’t know her—much less as a great princess. Marie-Antoinette grew up as a patron of charity moved by the plight of the poor.

Will patrons of charity still be moved by the plight of the poor after this pandemic? For now, kindness is the bread and butter of advertising. We call it the “New Normal”.

Kind hints abound all around for things to do while we’re home alone, for we’re all in this together—apart. First responders are at the ready to handle our loneliness.

Many companies have “/coronavirus” or “/covid-19” sections on their websites describing how much they do and care. Merchants offer gifts, discounts and special hours. First responders are at the ready to carry the gifts to those who can’t fetch them on their own.

Our kindness extends to our first responders, and theirs to us. We praise our first responders. They are our patrons of charity, our super heroes, surviving new Flanders Fields and new Memorial Days.

Through wars, pandemics and crises there have always been first responders who’ve laid it on the line for the rest. On Memorial Day we remember the sacrifices. We may wish them a reward, in the sweetest way: “Q’ils mangent de la brioche.”

A warm bite of luxury. Let us taste it every one.