In 1942, the American people were asked to make sacrifices for the common good of the nation and the world. People were given monthly ration cards to limit the consumption of gas, coal, tires, meat, sugar, butter and much more. The nation’s war effort needed these items, so Americans sacrificed their personal needs.

Today we are fighting a different war — one against the spread of the coronavirus, which has taken almost 240,000 American lives. In this past week alone, 59 fellow Utahns have died from the virus. Every hour, 50 Americans die of COVID-19. This is our time for sacrifice, discipline, compassion and grit. It is a time to dig deep into our hearts and souls for the common good of the community. It is a time for us to recognize that we as a nation have always been at our best when faced with challenges, and that we must use the limited tools at our disposal to protect one another.

Being an American means recognizing that with our rights comes responsibility. That responsibility starts with your own family and the health and welfare of each member. The small sacrifice and discipline to wear a mask is worth the lives of your fellow Utahns. Let’s respect our neighbors and our families and our medical community and effectively use the few tools we currently have: handwashing, social distancing, and wearing a mask. Put aside your political differences and put on a mask. Forfeit the large family gatherings for the greater health and safety of your community. Innovate, and gather virtually, gather outside, or gather in very small groups. Sacrifice one Thanksgiving and Christmas for the experience to see your loved ones in 2021. Worship in a private space, or in the outdoors. Find faith in the shared experience of protecting one another’s health and showing love for the members of your community.

In the near future, we will emerge from this darkness and experience each other’s smiles from closer than 6 feet. Until that time, let’s show compassion and discipline by putting on a mask, washing your hands, and limiting gatherings.

Keep the faith.

Dan Dugan, Salt Lake City Council Member, District Six