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home : columns : rahn larson
October 23, 2020

8/19/2020 9:59:00 AM
Scientists - the unsung heroes
"Never was so much owed by so many to so few."
If you pay attention to history, you may know British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made that observation in a famous World War II speech. His words were on my mind, recently, as I thought about the world's scientists hustling to find a COVID-19 vaccine.
I learned that Thursday is the 80th anniversary of Churchill's speech. In it, he was referring to the Royal Air Force which fought a pivotal air battle with the German Luftwaffe. After Churchill's speech the allied fighter pilots were forever known as "The Few."
It is certainly a different situation in 2020. Scientists aren't risking their lives. However, they are fighting for the lives of people from around the world.
We cannot really refer to these scientists as "the few." But remember, the world depends on them.
No doubt these scientists are under great stress. I would imagine they go to bed at night feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Presently there are over 180 vaccine candidates in various stages of testing. There is talk that doses could be available by early 2021. Effectiveness is the unknown.
My wife tells me I am the eternal optimist. Nonetheless, I am more hopeful than ever that a safe, difference-making vaccine is near.
If there ever was a quiet, unknown hero, it is the scientist. When a vaccine finally brings this horrible disease to its knees, the world needs to celebrate its amazing, unheralded scientists.

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