As I sit at home trying to sort out the impact of COVID-19 on future KHS program offerings I wonder how our region coped with an earlier pandemic: Spanish Flu.
The first official acknowledgment of the Spanish flu’s arrival in Washington came in September 1918 with the report of 11 cases at Camp Lewis near Tacoma. Within two weeks, 700 cases were reported in Seattle, including one death at the University of Washington’s Naval Training Center. Schools soon closed, and public gatherings were canceled throughout the state, including the 1919 Stanley Cup Final.
Crosscut’s Knute Berger described the pandemic as a “a slow-rolling wave that didn’t peter out until March of the following year. This deadly version of influenza killed an estimated 50 million to 100 million people worldwide. Some 25 million Americans came down with it.”
Knute Berger’s article includes a bit of Oral History: his father’s account of the impact of the flu on his family. As I read his father’s words I am reminded of the importance and power of first-person accounts. I challenge each of us to capture our experiences, feelings and difficulties to share with future generations. These histories can be short, consist of mostly photos, contain humor or heart-felt messages to loved ones. If you’d like us to save and share on our website, send to firstname.lastname@example.org or post on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/KenmoreHeritageSocietyArchives/.
Follow the link to read more from Knute: find out about the “Influenza Squad,” the ban on spitting and similarities with what we are experiencing today. https://crosscut.com/2020/03/ coronavirus-how-seattle-handled-spanish-flu
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