I'm not giving in to fear, and neither should you.
Frederick County is such an incredibly special place. Unmatched natural beauty surrounds us. We eat at restaurants managed by skilled culinary artists. We drink in warm local watering holes, and we shop in small specialty retail stores owned by friends and neighbors.
Our health needs are served by a world-class healthcare system. Our first responders are brave and selfless in ways that are best defined in times like these. We drive past some of the most advanced life science research facilities in the world. We're entertained by talented visual and performing artists, in theaters or just walking through our towns.
Our news comes to us from a great daily newspaper and from other outstanding print and broadcast media sources that inform and entertain us. We have abundant recreational opportunities and an agricultural industry that feeds and sustains us.
The COVID-19 pandemic is undoubtedly a threat. It's a threat to our vulnerable neighbors, a threat to our economy and a threat to our way of life. But this threat is limited to how we react to it, and how much of our internal conscience we yield to it.
Frederick County has always stood up to the toughest threats. A civil war, floods, economic downturns, and even racial intolerance have tested our collective community resolve but have never broken our spirit. It's that spirit, the pride, joy and love of who we are and what we have, that we need to call on today.
The fear, uncertainty and frustration that COVID-19 has forced upon us all WILL eventually wane. At that point, we'll need every ounce of Frederick County Spirit we can muster to bring about our renaissance, our rebirth. We'll emerge from behind our masks and out of our homes to shop, eat, drink and dance. Maybe we'll initially be a bit more reticent, hesitant to hug, kiss and shake hands. That's completely understandable.
But our friends in those stores, bars, and restaurants will need Frederick County Spirit more than ever. Those farmer's markets, breweries, distilleries and wineries will need a serious injection of our Frederick County Spirit. We'll need to go out to Harry Grove Stadium to shake our Keys with Frederick County Spirit. Our churches, synagogues, mosques and temples will need to be filled with spirit, both the Frederick-kind and the holier versions.
All of our great local events will need huge turnouts of Frederick County Spirit, from In the Street to Railroad Days. We'll need to engage our Frederick County Spirit to celebrate First Saturdays and Live at Five concerts, even if we need to stand a little farther apart.
Fear is an awful emotion. It debilitates, it discourages, and it diminishes our inner joy. The perfect antidote to fear is Frederick County Spirit. That special, hard-to-define emotion that inspires us to be our best selves, to stretch out a hand (gloved or not) to a stranger, and to be generous to those who serve us.
Let's all dust off our Frederick County Spirit. Let's be ready to hit the street as soon as they tell us it's safe to do so. Let's shop, eat and drink with that indomitable power of love, pride and purpose that has always defined Frederick County Spirit. I'll see you out there!