NEW ORLEANS — For weeks, we’ve buried our heads in worries about the virus, our jobs, our homes. On Friday, we lifted our heads to the sky. For roughly 25-minutes, the Air Force along with the Louisiana National Guard flew over the local hospitals caring for patients with COVID-19. A military salute to fighters in a different uniform.
“Of course being appreciated is very meaningful, but I think to be a healthcare professional — I think it starts in your heart in wanting to serve people,” said Pia Williams, a nurse at Ochsner Hospital.
“There are thousands of people that work in that building who have been working non-stop for months now, doing what we do, on a much different scale, taking care of some extremely sick patients. I think it’s a very nice thank you to them for all they have been doing,” said Jeffrey Elder, a doctor University Medical Center.
Elder and David Beran are doctors at UMC, where the hours have been grueling.
“It’s just been a constant stream of patients and it’s been a lot of stress. We’ve seen a lot of teamwork, a lot of people banding together, from the community from the hospital, from all levels,” said Dr. Beran.
For a brief time, nurses, doctors and support staff came outside for an honor dedicated to them. They did the same at New Orleans East hospital, Ochsner Children’s hospital, Tulane Medical Center, Ochsner Baptist, Touro, and the VA Medical Center. Many of us joined in a rare collective moment.
“I actually have missed being around people so much, so it was actually nice to see everybody and to be out in the sun,” said Melissa Simon, a nurse at Ochsner.
This flyover may be for health care workers, but we’ve heard the message that “we’re in this together, and we’ll get through this together”. So, The B-52 bombers, escorted by F-15’s also flew over the Superdome New Orleans City Hall. They were perhaps sending a message to the people of this region to keep fighting, keep hoping.
“I feel the community has done a really good job coming together and supporting our patients during this difficult time,” said Melissa Simon.
During a time when it’s critical to stay distant and separate, the flyover gave us a moment that we could all share.