If this year’s Fourth of July celebrations seemed extra loud and lusty, maybe it was because we were all trying so hard. Trying to remember what’s best about a country once known for its courage; not its carnage. Possibly the speechwriter who slipped that word into the President’s lexicon never had Cancer. However, thousands of Chicagoan’s were celebrating this year with the disease somewhere in their bodies, knowing 173 are diagnosed every day in Illinois alone.
It is reasonable to assume the carnage they were most thinking of was the one in their cells. It is further reasonable to assume, billions of those cells are now in staged retreat throughout Chicago’s many treatment sites. Each retreat a cause for celebration, because in its own way it represents what’s been best about our country for 241 years. Namely, the courage of its people to find new solutions to their oldest challenges.
Since President Nixon declared a “war on cancer,” the weapons deployed have included surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Although battlelines have been drawn in more than 50 Chicagoland medical sites, still 65 patients die every day in Illinois alone. Breast, Prostate, and Lung the most virulent invaders.
Independence is a many splendored thing. While it was celebrated across the picnic fields of America yesterday, today tens of thousands strive to achieve it tomorrow. To be free of the invaders which daily suck the life out of the ranks of America. More than terrorists, more than criminals, more than any other enemy than heart disease. A cause to not only the patients, but to those regiments of doctors, nurses, and technicians who fight every day on the flanks.
Yesterday saw some of what’s best about our country. Tomorrow beckons us to sort out our most dangerous adversaries. Russia, North Korea, Iran come quickly to mind. Cancer, however, is the adversary that needs neither missiles nor navies. It is the most dangerous enemy of all; the enemy within. However, it does need budgets; budgets with at least as many dollars as Washington readily gives up to some of its favorite weapons of other wars.
Welcome then, Mr President, to our world. To our fight in the realm of an enemy still not conquered. Worth a tweet or two between now and the next budget hearing….?
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