Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 26

Telegraph machine, a better Twitter This guy has the perfect name for Day 26, that's for sure. Dr. Benjamin Franklin Royer sits in his office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The sign on his desk reads: "Pennsylvania State Health Commissioner." During a fast-flowing 26th Day of influenza, Dr. Royer directs his assistant to type a message. In a few minutes the message will be converted into a … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 25

An Ohio newspaper, October 2, 1918 October 2, 1918, the 25th day of influenza after its appearance at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. There is a feeling that the worst is here and that the worst is headed somewhere. Deaths and cases roll into new areas across the nation—in Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Georgia; Red Cloud, Nebraska; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and the Naval Training Station at the … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 24

American flag, 1918 500 young men raise their hands and look up into the sky. Their focus is a flagpole standing in the center of the young men. Atop the pole is the 48-star American flag. An Army officer and a Union College official read aloud, in full speaking voice, the words from of a sheet of paper. At this ceremony in Schenectady, New York, the incoming class of Students' Army Training … [Read more...]

Learning From the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 23

Hospital at Fort Benjamin Harrison, outside Indianapolis, Indiana, 1918 A young nurse leans over a sick soldier, wipes his forehead, and gives him a drink of water. She smiles and speaks softly. He opens his eyes, the color of his face is pale but not blue. Not yet, thank heaven. She moves away and leans over the next soldier on a cot, and the next, and the next. Twenty-five in all. This is Day … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 22

The first influenza case arrives at Camp Custer, Battle Creek, Michigan on Day 22 Do you know that thing you're doing? That sacrifice and extra effort? Well, you better get yourself ready to do more. Today, Day 22, September 29, 1918, doing more than expected is how life goes. At Fort Devens, Massachusetts the medical facility was meant for 1200 patients. No longer—6000 sick men were there. … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 21

Take a quick breath to take stock. Three weeks ago. Day 1, influenza begins at Fort Devens, Massachusetts. It's back after an outbreak some three months before, in the spring, a seasonal thing. Now, on Day 21, Saturday, September 28, 1918... ...a helluva day. At 1am this morning Major Ernest Gibson and his military comrades were ordered into line and told to start marching from their … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 20

Looking north, across the Ohio River, from Newport, Kentucky, early 20th century He's "one of the most robust men in Newport, Kentucky," his hometown on the Ohio. That's the general view of Joseph Schulkin. Yesterday, he got influenza. Today, he's dead. The water flowing by when he became ill is now, at his death, a few miles closer to joining the Mississippi at Cairo, Illinois. The river rolls … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 19

Artillery fire, Meuse-Argonne Offensive At 5:30 in the morning, September 26, it begins. And this is what it's supposed to be all about. This is what we're focused on. The work, the effort, the strain, the sacrifice. Day 1 in that world, while it's Day 19 everywhere else. Boom. Orange fire and a dark object screams across the sky. Seconds later, almost four miles away, an … [Read more...]

April Trials

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Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 18

A Jackie Band near Winnekta, Illinois, 1918 News large and important. Printed in newspapers, transcribed on telegrams, written in letters. Read by thousands, read by dozens, read by one. Word is spreading about life in a world that is—like it or not, choose it or not, know it or not—abruptly new. Day 18, September 25, 1918. For the thousands... A leading newspaper in Charlotte, North … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 17

September 24, 1918 Camp Dix, New Jersey, the shadows of a sunny day Warm and sunny, one of those great fall days. You're in line. One by one, they line up. You're stepping forward, a few feet at a time. You normally train for war but today, you're doing something else. Into the wooden shed you go. They hand you a cup of warm, salted water. They bark at you: go outside, tilt your head back, … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 16

An American worker, 1918 A guy named Wiley Eastwood is a good stand-in for hundreds of thousands of Americans today, Day 16, September 23, 1918. A hard-worker, Eastwood goes to his job—earns his pay, like always—but in the late morning starts feeling weak, fevered, coughing. Lunchtime comes and goes and he's worse. Finally, he just can't keep going. It's time to talk with the boss. Eastwood … [Read more...]

Learning From the 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 15

Dr. William Welch, 1918 You turn the corner and there it is. A sudden shock. The look and feel of an unknown that is total, that is capable of swallowing up everything you are and everything you're ready to do. Beyond your experience, your expectations. Beyond all there is in you. You turn the corner and there it is. On this fifteenth day, September 22, 1918, a young mother and her two young … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 14

Crouse-Irving Hospital in Syracuse, New York Two weeks on, September 21, 1918, and the remedies started flowing in. Some folks say don't let your feet get wet and watch out for signs of blocked bowels. Others assert that chewing food well and drinking lots of water is the answer. Eating onions, drinking sour milk, the list grows of what people hope will be the cure, the trick, that keeps them … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 13

Lt. Hugh Coughlin of Escanaba, Michigan It was a day of youth. 21-year old Hugh Coughlin is with his parents at their home in Escanaba, Michigan. His mother touches his forehead. He's hot with fever. His father hears him cough. A deep and rattling thickness. Mom and Dad together exchange a worried look at seeing their son. He suffers in pain. Of course, they're thrilled to have him home; the … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 12

Dr. John Hurty The phone rings at an office in the state capital of Indiana. The ringing is heard at the wooden desk of Indiana's Secretary of the State Board of Health. Dr. John Hurty. Holding up the heavy black phone to his ear with one hand, Hurty hears US Surgeon General Rupert Blue on the other end of the line. Hurty listens for a few moments, asks a question or two, and then thanks Blue … [Read more...]

The Puzzle Of 1968

A lab technician in 1968 helping with response to influenza. I don't want to be misinterpreted here. But the more I write, the thinner the ice beneath me. A crack, I just heard a crack. Heck with it. I'm going forward, slowly. I'll have to depend on your judgment and willingness to offer me the benefit of the doubt. Yes, I fully support the current understanding of Covid-19 and … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 11

A Cincinnati barbershop, fall 1918 Just the "Grippe." Only the grippe. Don't freak out over the standard seasonal cough, fever, and aches that everyone calls "the grippe." Newspaper editors and writers are telling lots of readers today that the illness everyone's talking about is simply another outbreak of seasonal flu. They say it in Cincinnati today when one of the city's newspapers … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 10

From Boston, 1918 Among the vast reality of Day 10 come these two moments on the same day from nearly the same place in Massachusetts. In Cambridge, Massachusetts a telegraph operator tapped out a message. Seconds later, the transmission sped like a flash to South Dakota where another telegraph operator recorded the signals and wrote a note. Within an hour or so, Mrs. Arthur Neilson of Hot … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 9

John Dill Robertson He's known as "Dill Pickle" by some in his department, by some of his followers. He is Dr. John Dill Robertson, public health director for the city of Chicago, Illinois. On this day, Day 9 of the Influenza Pandemic (September 16, 1918), Dr. Robertson announces to the people of Chicago that influenza is now a reportable disease. Big deal? Honestly, yes, it is for the folks in … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 8

Blinding speed. Bewildering speed. You just can't even hope to understand the cosmic swiftness of this speed. Welcome to reality on the eighth day of influenza, September 15, 1918. Outbreaks are occurring across the world and throughout the US. Nearly all are related to war and war-making. Camp Lee in Virginia, Camp Dix in New Jersey, Camp Dodge in Iowa, and the port of Los Angeles where the … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 7

The past has a voice. https://youtu.be/7k20VFZeLKY Having received the list of influenza symptoms from the US Surgeon General, more newspaper editors approve the publishing of articles about the illness. The Philadephia Evening Bulletin reports: "Spanish Influenza Here" while smaller-town publications like the Daily Star in Marion, Ohio describe how illness has appeared in various East … [Read more...]

A New Sheriff In Town–the lunchroom edition

OK, not me. But as headmaster of the newly opened Miller In-Home Girls School (MIHGS) that has opened at our house since the onset of Covid-19, this photo captures my persona, title, and overall self-image, to say nothing of ego. Two students, daughters age 18 and 10. Want to see the new world they're living in? Let's go into the MIHGS lunchroom, formerly known as our kitchen and nonstop … [Read more...]

Learning From The 1918 Influenza Pandemic: Day 6

On this sixth day a team of public health specialists works at Fort Devens in Massachusetts. They study conditions at Devens following the prior day's report of an influenza outbreak. But before they had arrived, a group of US soldiers had left Devens, bound for Fort Upton on Long Island, New York. Carrying the sickness unknowingly with them, the soldiers prepare at Long Island to leave for France … [Read more...]

Learning From the 1918 Pandemic: Day 5

1918 Influenza Pandemic Day 5 (first entry) The first case of influenza appears at Fort Devens in Massachusetts five days ago, regarded (for our purposes on this blog) as Day 1. Similar outbreaks are occurring across the Atlantic in Europe. The Fort Devens case is the first US case inland from naval facilities in Boston. A team of experts plans to travel to Devens to examine conditions. The … [Read more...]

1918: First Entry Tomorrow

Tomorrow, St. Patrick's Day, Tuesday, March 17, 2020 I will begin my new exploration of the 1918 pandemic and its application for Covid 19 in 2020. … [Read more...]

I Now Equal Six

I now equal six. A month or so ago it was five. I'm adding one to make six. This is the number of events that have affected me deeply over my lifetime. Like me, you have a number. For me, three of them are personal and individual. A tornado in the mid-1970s, a baptism in the mid-1990s, and a set of moments made by my wife and two daughters over the past couple of decades. … [Read more...]

One Young Woman–Covid 19, 1918, And Your Leadership

Thank you for seeking out more information from the experience of an unknown leader, 32-year old Edna Fletcher. Pictured above, she was a significant healthcare leader at Methodist Hospital (now Indiana University Health Methodist) in Indianapolis, Indiana. Below are brief points from her experience. I believe they can help you in your leadership right now and the days ahead. (Contact me at … [Read more...]

TTP: A 9 POTUS Checklist for the 2020 Presidential Election, Part II

So, from Part I of my series, you now know that 9 POTUSes won and completed a first presidential term, won their party's nomination for re-election, but lost in the election for a second term in the White House. Also, you have the six-item checklist to use in gauging whether or not we'll add the 10th POTUS to the group in November 2020. To refresh your recall of Part I, CLICK HERE. For you … [Read more...]

TTP: FuturePast

I happen to believe that the South Carolina Republican primary in early 2016 will one day be seen as the point at which Donald Trump's nomination reached a critical mass. After it, Trump's nomination became increasingly probable. The ability to turn in a different direction narrowed with each passing week. Here's why. South Carolina in early 2016 was a place with public opinion apparently … [Read more...]

TTP: A 9 POTUS Checklist for the 2020 Presidential Election, Part I

I'd like to offer you a free gift before the 2020 presidential election hits you in full force. No, not steak knives or diet food or some type of weird enhancement. I'm referring to a tool of sorts. You're going to need it because the media coverage between now and November will be unlike anything you've experienced before. You'll be reaching for ear plugs, sleep masks, and anything else that will … [Read more...]

Up In The Sky

Our youngest daughter and I waited in our car for her school to open. Typical start, typical day. Then we looked out and saw this. Miles above us, a passenger jet carried folks to their next destination as Ava and I sat in our car. But it's the contrail that captivated me. A thought dawned and my photo, shot through a smudgy windshield, resulted. Here is my thought: the trailing … [Read more...]

TTP: Measuring From The Past–Four Stories And The Trump Presidency

With history, you gain perspective. You gain a sense of what's truly near you, what's far away, and how one thing flows from another. That's why, in my talk entitled "Measuring From The American Past—Four Stories And The Trump Presidency", I share a set of brief insights from American history to help us know how to fit the Presidency of Donald Trump into 2020 and beyond. These stories speak to … [Read more...]

Abraham Lincoln, Ariana Grande, and the Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address

Ariana and Abraham. Grande and Lincoln. A warm June night in Manchester, England, UK. A cold November day in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Three hours in 2017 and three minutes in 1863. A universe apart. Across such a span, is there anything they can say to one another? I've thought about this question for more than a year. I've searched the span and I think the answer is yes. They can speak … [Read more...]

The List That Can Save Your Sanity

The televised impeachment hearings of POTUS 45 are officially open. You'll be inundated with news, quasi-news, fake news, yuk news, and more. Much more. By all means, pay attention. But you don't need me to say that. My best role, my best advice, is to provide you with the list below and remind you of what it means. Consider, a century ago, in the twelve months and fifty-two weeks of 1919: … [Read more...]

Filling Shoes

A storm of sorts ripped through my town a couple of weeks ago. Not your typical storm, it was calm and quiet. It was off the radar, too, with no TV meteorologists waving their arms in front of moving colors. But I still call it a storm and I think you should know it struck. You see, this storm was death and in a 24-hour span death stole some of the future of my town. I'd wager that never in my … [Read more...]

Have We Started Yet?

The beginning, the start. As a leader, do you know when it is? Often you do. A project, a budgetary cycle, a strategic initiative, a team's creation, a grand opening, all of them have a specific point in time when they get underway. You're further encouraged to be confident in starting and beginning by so many things around you. A work week, a school year, a season, a movie, a meal, an athletic … [Read more...]

Beneath The Surface

Something happened the other day and it bothered me. I'd like to share it with you to see what you think. It's only a couple of minutes' reading. Here we go. On Twitter I follow a person who sends out a daily tweet on "this date in the American Revolution." Whatever today is, the guy tweets about some event that happened on that same day back in the American Revolutionary War, 1775-1783. It … [Read more...]

Four Decisions, Two Hours, and One Day

Benedict Arnold Saratoga Battlefield, Saratoga, New York Benedict Arnold. If you know the name you know why. He betrayed the American cause in the Revolutionary War. Switched his loyalty to the British in exchange for money and status. In America, his name is synonymous with treason, back-stabbing, the worst kind of sell-out. I still want you to know something different about him as a … [Read more...]

The Dot Perspective

When you're busy, one of the first things that gets ignored is perspective. Chucked in the bin, out with the trash. You don't have time for it. In the minutes taken to find perspective, something else has gone wrong, something else has gone bad. Perspective is a luxury afforded to those rich with time. That's not you. Stop. Take the time. Make the time. Perspective will reward you. It pays for … [Read more...]