Letter to the Editor

The unwavering strength of Southeast Missouri is inspirational

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

To the Editor:

As of this writing, Missouri is facing over 7,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus throughout the state.

While most of these cases are located in metropolitan areas of St. Louis and Kansas City, even our region has not been completely immune to cases of COVID-19. As much as COVID-19 has affected our state and even our region, the real impact felt in Southeast Missouri continues to be the social isolation arising from the stay at home orders of state and local leadership. Seemingly overnight, a switch was flipped and our economy, social institutions, and daily lives have screeched to a halt.

The affects of the prolonged shutdowns cannot be overstated. I hurt along with the communities of Southeast Missouri and beyond. We have all been greatly affected: favorite events have been cancelled, we have been forced to stay away from friends and loved ones, our church congregations have been isolated. We cannot even begin to calculate the harm done to small businesses, local industries and working families. Many employees have been laid off or furloughed.

But in spite of all of the hard times we have suffered, that light at the end of the tunnel is now fast approaching. For the first time in months, community leaders are talking about opening back up, and ending shutdowns. Our president, after a great handling of this crisis, after grueling weeks, we are seeing the other side of this.

Bearing in mind the hardship we bore here in Southeast Missouri, all I can walk away feeling is a sheer sense of awe at the strength displayed by our communities through this time. In the wake of the greatest public health crisis faced in over 100 years, Southeast Missouri took it in stride — and we are finally at a point where we can say we are beating this thing. I thank God above for being with us all through this Pandemic. I am thankful for the wise leadership demonstrated by our president, and for the resiliency of our region for doing its part to beat this thing.

Now the real work begins — the work of rebuilding our economy and reestablishing our connections to one another. Now, more than ever, we cannot take our ties to one another for granted. We need to celebrate our region and the activities that unite us, whether that be gathering together in our houses of worship, buying from local business and supporting our local economy, or if it just means lending a helping hand to our neighbors.

There is much to be done to restore things back to the way they were before this outbreak, but I am confident that we will pull together as a region as we have done in the past. There is so much to be said of what we have endured. Once again, the United States of America has faced a threat like none we have ever seen, and have beaten it. As I wrote at the start of this pandemic, our nation would survive this, and beat the pandemic we have. Our strength and endurance during this time will serve as a model for future generations. Even though times are tough, our spirits are not yet broken. Southeast Missouri stands resolute in our faith and in our hope. By the grace of God, we will be able to face the future and get back to the work of living our lives and bettering our community.

For my friends, family, and neighbors in Southeast Missouri, I am eternally thankful for each and everyone one of you. Together, we will reclaim what has been lost and come back even stronger than before. Because that’s the American way.

Eddy Justice

Poplar Bluff

Candidate for state Senate