Listen closely; the dead are speaking to you!

Does the number 193 mean anything to you? It does for the 193 who sleep in Keene’s Woodland Cemetery and perished in the year 1918, the year of our nation’s last influenza pandemic. The dead speak to us every day, but we pay them little or no mind. My parents are buried in Woodland and I walk through there frequently, honoring them and listening.

According to the “Upper Ashuelot: A History of Keene, New Hampshire,” there are 193 who are interred in Woodland from that fateful year and many others who were buried in 1919 as the pandemic retreated. One family that I bow my head to frequently is the Jewett family: Harry Jewett, his wife, Fanny Hardy, and their 12-year-old daughter Margaret were all laid to rest in 1918. They implore you, listen! We have the science and the knowledge to not end our days like them.

In 1956, I was in nursery school at the former Lutheran Church on Arch Street. I have a newsletter from February of that year written by our nursery school teacher, reminding the children’s parents to let her know when their little one has had their “Salk” (polio) shot so she could chart it and “show the brave ones.” The polio vaccine was introduced the year before, in 1955. Parents in those days hardly questioned vaccines. Every parent, to my knowledge, was on board. They followed and trusted medical advice and the science behind vaccines.

President Biden would like to see our nation return to normal, but there are a lot of “hold outs,” anti-vaxxers. Biden, like George Washington (who ordered his troops vaccinated against smallpox), has ordered vaccine mandates for federal employees and contractors, as well as businesses that have 100 employees or more. Those who choose not to get vaccinated can opt out and get tested once a week. Biden’s mandate stands firmly on constitutional grounds.

Finally, Fox News Corp. has mandated that Fox employees be vaccinated, according to Seth McFarland, creator of Fox’s “Family Guy.” He reported that 90 percent of Fox’s employees have been vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated or did not report that they had been vaccinated need to be tested daily.

Remember, those that sleep have much to say. Listen!

STEPHEN SERAICHICK

Keene