I am almost done reading The Fall of Berlin 1945, a terrifying book by Antony Beevor that painstakingly documents the final months and weeks as Russian troops made their way westward toward the German city.
The book details the horror Russian soldiers inflicted upon German citizens as they made their way to Berlin, where Adolf Hitler and others in the Nazi regime were soon to take their own lives.
(In another book, Stalingrad: The fateful Siege 1942-1943, Beevor wrote about the siege of Stalingrad and the horror German soldiers inflicted upon citizens of the Soviet Union. Evil has no passport preference.)
It is a gut-wrenching read, with rape, looting and executions seemingly as daily a routine as grabbing a coffee and muffin in the morning.
It is impossible to imagine what those who lived through those days experienced, but live through it they did, with untold mental scars.
I find myself reflecting on this book often these days as I listen to the latest complaints associated with government response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To be sure, the pandemic has had a serious impact on some — there have been deaths, there have been financial blows and there continues to be mental-health issues associated with isolation.
For those so affected, it has been a rough 12 months and a return to normal cannot come soon enough.
However, for the vast majority of us, the predominant impact of the pandemic and associated protocols rolled out by government in response has been boredom. There are only so many days one can do the same thing again and again, knowing one cannot take a vacation outside of Canada, knowing one cannot invite friends over for dinner, before one hits a wall.
But, if one has not lost somebody to the disease and if one has not had to close up shop or struggle to keep a business afloat, the complaints about the vaccine rollout that continue to cascade are becoming an unwelcome cacophony of claptrap.
Millions around the world have already been vaccinated in what is a medical miracle. Prior to the creation of COVID-19 vaccines, the fastest creation of a vaccine was four years for mumps in the 1960s.
Can you imagine four years of living as we have for the past 11 months?
Scientists managed to create a vaccine for COVID-19 in mere months — an astonishing accomplishment — yet we continue to hear complaints about the speed of its rollout.
Can we not sit back and simply be amazed by the unprecedented speed at which these vaccines are entering the arms of millions of people?
The rollout in Canada has been hampered by shipment delays and the schedule in B.C. has been less than clear. That is to be expected when we are dealing with a historic scientfic/medical achievement. It is, at worst, a brief extension of the waiting game we have been playing for the past year.
The Second World War and the COVID-19 pandemic are both life-altering events. But when I refer to the pages in my book, and consider the hell unleashed on so many 76 years ago, I realize a few more months of boredom is a vacation by comparison.