While looking through some old family boxes I came upon a World War II ration book. We were at war and everything was rationed. They used stamps to be allowed to purchase products and used them carefully. If you ran out of stamps, you had no food or tires, gasoline, etc. These folks understood that they were making sacrifices to win the war and were dubbed “The Greatest Generation.”

North Dakota lost 1,626 in four years during WWII. Today our generation is at war again. Our enemy is COVID-19 and we’ve lost 1,152 … in nine months. Just as in WWII, many are dying, and again it’s time to sacrifice. No ration books, though; we’re asked to only wear a mask, keep our distance to protect others, wash hands often and limit gatherings.

Today, many speak of their rights. I agree with having rights. I have the right to wear a mask, protecting your right to not be exposed to my possible Covid-19 droplets, nor I from yours. You also have the right to wear a mask to protect us both. Some may not want to use that right, but to end this war, it’s their responsibility.

We forget that with rights and freedoms come responsibilities. Sacrifices were made and lives were lost in WWII. We now need to make sacrifices to limit the lives lost in our war with COVID-19. Today’s generation hasn’t experienced many national sacrifices. This is a small one to save the lives of fellow North Dakotans. And we’re still able to buy tires, food, and all the gasoline we want.

Will history tag us as the next Greatest Generation? Or will we be deemed the “Selfish Generation” who changed North Dakota from a state that was caring about “we” to caring only about “me?”

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Warren Larson, Bismarck