Nearly 70 years ago, President Eisenhower sounded themes during his first inaugural address that still ring as relevant and true today. 

“We must be ready to dare all for our country,” he said. “We must be willing, individually and as a nation, to accept whatever sacrifices may be required of us. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

Today, in a time requiring real sacrifices big and small, we can find an inspirational challenge in President Eisenhower’s message. We can take that call to “dare all for our country.” 

The brave health care providers who have given so willingly and sacrificed so much in the battle against COVID-19, and who continue to do so, have personally accepted that call, but they are counting on others to take the right steps and play their part in slowing and stopping the virus’ spread.

The evidence is overwhelmingly clear. Personal safety measures, including staying home whenever possible, wearing a mask in all public indoor spaces, washing your hands frequently, and keeping your physical distance while socializing are not only simple sacrifices we can make, they are critically important in our fight against COVID-19. And we need everyone’s help.

The AHA is continuing our partnership with the American Medical Association and American Nurses Association and just launched a public service announcement campaign encouraging people to wear a mask, maintain social distance and wash their hands. 

And our hospital and health system teams are ready to serve — and lead — in every community … no matter the current case count, and no matter the politics.  

We do that by being advocates for simple COVID-19 safety measures in every conversation with a relative, in every Zoom with a book club, or PTA planning session. We can be the educators, examples, and health care leaders that our communities need.  

We’ll remind others that every sacrifice of an uncomfortable mask or inconvenient hand washing session is done for a reason or for a loved one … For the COVID-19 patient who will need that hospital bed empty. For their diabetic neighbor. For their elderly parents. For the people who can’t work from home because they’re needed on the front lines, doing the essential work. For the hopeful return of classrooms filled with smiling children and a holiday season filled with long overdue family gatherings and unrestrained hugging.  

Our teams of selfless, front-line care providers will continue to be there for our patients, just like they’ve always been … just like the health care heroes they are. And as their teammates, we’ll stand by their side to do our part in the fight — to educate, to model, to lead. It still will take all of us. Because we’re still in this together.

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