We have reached the four year anniversary of the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic here in New York State. Most of us remember exactly where we were and what was happening when the entire world we know changed.

Looking back, the last four years are a bit of a blur. As slow as the first two years of the pandemic dragged on, it is hard to believe we are marking four years since the shutdowns, regulations and all that went with the outbreak. We have learned so much since March of 2020; some good, some not so good.

I wrote this letter below to my three sons during the pandemic. It has been added to the records at the Buffalo History Museum and since then, my wife and I welcomed a beautiful baby girl.

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A Letter To My Kids:

Hank, Teddy and Gus,

It may be hard to understand what has changed since before you were born.  As a matter of fact, your mom and I are still struggling with putting it all together.  But one thing that has remained the same is our love for you and our dedication to giving you the best upbringing possible in this new world we are living in.

Before “the virus” changed things, people would gather together in groups and share moments together.  Some large and others small. But people would assemble to watch competitions and performances on stages and even have dinner in the same building just a few feet away from each other!

I know it’s hard to imagine in today’s world. But there was a time when we hugged our friends and threw caution to the wind when we shook the hand of a stranger!! 

Your mom and I had friends that we would see on occasion and share drinks together, in person, not on a video or screen chat.

It was a scary time during the year of “the virus.” People wore masks from place to place and most of America was asked to stay at home. This meant most Americans, who didn’t  lose their job or get laid off,  had to change how they worked. Instead of the buildings they would drive to each day, workers stayed in their houses and started what we now call working from home. Kids even attended school from home!

So many things have changed in the first few years of your lives. But what has not changed, and this is what I want you boys to always keep in mind, are certain values that make this the greatest country on earth.  Family, freedom and the willingness to fight for what is right.  We stick together. Everyday the news would show common people doing extraordinary things for their neighbors in need at the most vulnerable time. Just like I pray you boys do, Americans stuck together, even in the darkest and hardest days of the pandemic, Americans stayed strong in our resolve.

Boys, just like your grandparents did and our founding fathers had done, I want you to know that we came together to beat a common enemy that threatened not only our livelihood, but also the very thing that keeps us together, faith in each other and a dedication to give the next generation a better life than we had. It was amazing to see how many people stepped up in the face of a very contagious virus to help others survive even at the risk of losing their own life!

We learned so many things in early 2020 and I want to make sure you understand the lessons we all took away daily as we learned what many call our “new normal.”

Always remember to fight for what is right and what you believe in! Be willing to lend a hand to a stranger, and volunteer when you can! Be generous!! Always stick together as a family and be willing to make the sacrifices necessary to keep America strong! 

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