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Looking forward to a fresh start in 2021

For all of us, I guess, it’s time to leave 2020 and pass it off as the year we’d much rather forget.

This year was, to say the least, an unexpected jolt to our normally well-regulated lives. It was a time of civil unrest, elections and turbulent weather, but the one term that affected us most and will live forever in the memories of everyone over the age of 4 is COVID-19.

COVID-19 practically shut America down. Concern over the disease forced cities in some areas to order restaurants closed. Lack of customers who were afraid of contracting the virus forced some businesses to either close permanently or file for bankruptcy. Children in many areas of the country sat not in a classroom, but in front of a computer at home to go to school.

We sang “Happy Birthday” either aloud or in our heads to make sure we properly washed our hands. The face mask, which at one time was something you wore on Halloween or thieves wore to hide their identities, is now used to protect us from the virus. They became fashion statements and created awkward moments as we tried to figure out who was greeting us.

We learned “social distancing” and the term “keeping your interval,” which at one time was a military phrase and command to remind people to maintain their space from the person either in front of them or to their side. There was a time when using hand sanitizer in a store was considered an insult to the owner. Now it’s considered a prudent practice.

We watched a presidential election and videos of protests against violence, but even as we watched the ongoing cavalcade of events on the daily newscasts COVID-19 still overrode everything else as we received a daily litany of how many tested positive for the disease and how many passed away.

Now, as 2021 approaches, we are waiting in anticipation of when the recently released COVID-19 vaccine will become available for the public and whether we will make the decision to take it ourselves.

And as this column approaches its close, I want to bring up one more thing — our record-breaking hurricane season. There have been, over the years, claims that global warming would increase hurricane activity in the world. That claim is in the process of being proven.

One of my hobbies is watching and trying to track hurricanes that form in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, and over the years as I check the buoy reports in the Gulf of Mexico I find the water temperature getting warmer and doing so earlier than the previous year.

This year’s storm season should serve as a warning that we should start being prepared earlier for storms and start taking steps to improve our environment.

So as I close this column, please excuse the preaching that accompanied the history, because I tend to get carried away sometimes.

So whether you’re reading this on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or whenever, have a Happy New Year and may it be a damn sight better than 2020.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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