If you had been born in 1900, you were 14 years old when World War I began. By 1918, 22 million people had been killed. Later that same year, a Spanish Flu epidemic erupted. And 50 million people perished in the space of two years.
At the age of 29, the Great Depression began. Unemployment hit 25%, global GDP dropped 27%. The country nearly collapsed along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts and when you are 41, the United States enters the War. Between your 39th and 45th birthdays, 75 million lives are extinguished. Nearly 400,000 Americans are killed – to the tune of 8,000 men killed each month. The Holocaust slaughtered six million souls. When you turn 52, the Korean War starts and another five million perish including 36,000 American servicemen.
Four million people died during the Vietnam War including 56,000 Americans. In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis is a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, came close to ending. Great leaders prevented that from happening.
Think of those folks who were born in 1900. And the challenges, pain and heartache they endured. They survived through devastating times and a cosmic annihilation of humanity. The Covid virus – which affects primarily older adults – while serious and of great concern – is so far a relative drop in the bucket. Medical science has advanced exponentially. And nearly all of those afflicted will survive. If our forebears were able to survive their struggles, can we survive ours?