Dicky Farren reminiscing on his days in the war. Meira Bienstock

BETHEL — All is fair in love and…a pandemic? What do the two have in common? According to two veterans, there are three main similarities between the international pandemic and war.

The first main commonality is anyone could die in either scenario. In the early months of the international coronavirus pandemic, the fear of death associated with COVID-19 was daunting because no one knew anything about the virus. To this day, 606, 000 Americans have died from the virus.

When comparing the pandemic and war, look at how differently people react when facing potential death. When asking veterans Dicky Farren and Richard Grover how they prepared themselves when going into battle, both them wore a baffled expression yet simultaneously remained stoic. Their responses were similar. “We can’t let them pick on you,” says Richard Grover, who was an Electric Warfare Officer in the 1960s, and a Korean war veteran. Grover said he wanted to retaliate. Farren said with combat, “you know what you’re going into.”

“Knowing what you’re going into,” is dutifully noted, as Grover recounts, President Kennedy had been in the Navy. His boat was intercepted by Japanese warships. He swam to a small island, and the rest is history, as he took the Navy and Marine Corps Medal. The take-away? President Kennedy reacted with the war happening in Korea and Vietnam, because he had strong military background.

Richard Grover, a Korean war veteran, reflecting on his days in the war. Meira Bienstock

Another one of the strong similarities between the pandemic and the war is people miss their family who they often can’t be with physically. Grover says he originally went down to South Carolina to visit family in the early days of the pandemic. However, there began to be so many restrictions put in place, he had to come back to Maine early. Farren still communicated with his circle through the Internet or phone. Grover said he used the phone and email to keep in touch, though he’s, “not too keen” on emails. Both veterans said during the war they wrote letters to their loved ones in different regions.

The last of the three similarities is as Farren puts it, “you don’t have a say [about what’s happening around you]”. However, Farren combats this, saying with combat, you know what you’re going into, and he accepted it. He further states he was older when he joined the Airforce, so he had more life experience behind him. This might explain his bigger picture attitude.

Maybe not all is fair in love and a pandemic, but there are certainly fairness’s between the pandemic and war.

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