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Citizenship, to me, means more than belonging to a country (and the benefits that go along with citizenship). I believe not only does a country have a duty to its citizens but we have a duty to our country and to people who live within  our country. 

One aspect of citizenship is taking responsibility for our behaviour: our personal responsibility toward the health and welfare of others.

Citizenship bestows many benefits on its citizens one of which is our personal freedoms: freedom of free speech, freedom of religion and the list goes on but with these personal freedoms comes responsibility. We cannot be concerned only for ourselves. We must look carefully at our family, friends and other citizens when we make a decision to interpret, and act on, one of these freedoms. I now refer to the care and respect of the health of our fellow man.  If we handle a personal freedom with arrogance and carelessness without a thought for others, this is not a display of the meaning of citizenship. 

COVID has taken millions of lives around the world. Governments, scientists and health professionals worked around the clock to come to grips with the sudden appearance of  COVID. They were forced to hit the deck running to find a way to identify and control a previously unknown and rapidly spreading virus. We waited for them to find a solution to the millions of  people often dying alone in pain and agony without loved ones by their side. We were expected to do our part by following the recommendations of scientists by wearing masks when we had to leave our homes, constantly sanitizing our environment and isolating ourselves from the outside world  including other family members and friends. There was a huge toll on businesses who were forced to temporarily close and those who were able to work from home did so. People lost their employment and places to live. Many became homeless. Social agencies and food banks begged for government help. Schools closed and new ways of teaching our children had to be found. We all know of the many sacrifices made by citizens in an effort to come to grips with COVID. People waited anxiously for the old way of  life to return which we now know no longer exists.

While many people did their best to ensure their own survival and that of their family and fellow citizens, there were those who illogically and inexplicably decided this was the time to push their “citizen rights to freedom of…….” They thoughtlessly and carelessly jeopardized their own health and that of their fellow citizens.  A new wave of COVID deaths is emerging including from the unvaccinated some of whom now, belatedly, understand the power of the virus.  And then there is the emergence of the new variants! Unfortunately, the health care professionals who risked their own lives to care for those originally infected before a vaccine was discovered, now find themselves risking their lives again for those who refuse to help themselves and who continue to possibly contaminate their loved ones and fellow citizens. Words, truly, fail me for these people who think their “personal freedom” is to contaminate their fellow citizens. Unbelievable!

Get vaccinated. It is your duty to yourself, your fellow citizens and as a citizen of your country.

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