Imagine the morning of Dec. 7, 1941 on the island of Oahu. Admiral Gary Herbert, the commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, and Spencer Cox, his chief of staff, are playing golf on a beautiful Sunday morning. The foursome is rounded out by Lt. Gens. Brad Wilson and Stuart Adams.
The bombings of Pearl Harbor begin, and Admiral Herbert and his colleagues are notified of the situation as they are about to tee off on the ninth hole. The admiral indicates that he is not really sure that there is an attack underway, and he hopes that the Japanese have just accidentally dropped torpedoes and bombs on Battleship Row. When asked for orders, he advises his staff to wait and get more information before a counter attack can be initiated.
He is informed that the USS Arizona has been mortally stricken, the USS Utah and USS Oklahoma have both capsized, and there is a large loss of life. Casualties are pouring into Tripler Army Medical Center. Medical services are overwhelmed. A request for defensive action is made and after a millisecond of thought, both the admiral, his chief of staff, and the lieutenant generals request still more information.
The admiral states that he hopes that the Japanese military will “do the right thing” and stop the attack.
When he learns that Hicham Field has been attacked, again with a significant loss of life, Admiral Herbert requests even more information before making any decision. He continues his golf game, contemplates a comfortable retirement and plans dinner with his close friends. The attack continues unchallenged despite mounting evidence that this is an enemy attack, and the attack is relentless and unending.
Mr. Herbert, how much more information do you require before issuing a statewide mask mandate? How many Utahns will be affected by this relentless virus, and how many more will die before you have enough information to make a decision?
Our parents, the Greatest Generation, sacrificed so much more than we have been asked to do, and yet, they are our most vulnerable, awaiting action that just may save theirs and others lives. Are you telling me that they survived the Depression, sacrificed for the war effort, saw their friends die in battle, just so they could die because you didn’t have the courage to mandate that Utahns wear masks? The data and the science are clear and unequivocal. Please do the right thing.
And, Mitt Romney, are you listening?
Margaret S. Audell, M.D., Park City, is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist, who was in full-time private practice for 34 years. She is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Medicine. She served in numerous leadership roles in addition to being chief of staff of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, Calif.