March 22, 2020
Today, the U.S. Senate is in session, and we will be voting on another emergency package to deal with the unprecedented economic impact that the coronavirus is having on millions of hard-working Americans. Before I headed down to Washington, D.C. this morning, I stopped by Rodney Square in Wilmington, and it looked a little different than it usually does on the first Sunday of Spring – and not just because it’s under construction!
For the last 57 years, people from all around Delaware and across the country have gathered in the shadow of Caesar Rodney’s statue on this weekend to run the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon – the oldest half marathon in the country. But today, Rodney Square was empty as we all deal with the spread of COVID-19 and practice good social distancing.
Even though there is no race taking place today, I think we can all still learn an important lesson from Caesar Rodney and the race that bears his name.
244 years ago, Caesar Rodney – who served as the President of Delaware during the Revolutionary War – rode his horse all the way from Dover, Delaware to Philadelphia in order to cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the Declaration of Independence. By doing so, he helped to secure the unalienable rights that Americans enjoy today: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Our nation has taken on many difficult challenges since we declared independence – two world wars, the Great Depression, a Cold War, attacks on our soil and more. But we have weathered those storms together and been stronger for it.
I know that the challenges we are facing today are no different. If we all do our part, we will emerge from this period stronger for it.
Yes, Rodney Square looks different today. But the challenges that we are facing calls for the same kind of leadership and courage that Caesar Rodney and so many others showed 244 years ago. And, even though we are practicing social distancing in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus, these times call for the same determination and stamina that got Caesar Rodney to Philadelphia and that gets us over that finish line every year.
That is the message that I am taking with me to Washington today, and it’s what will be on my mind as we, hopefully, vote on a third relief package later this afternoon.
We will get through this. And, when we do, I know we’ll be back at that starting line together next year, even stronger than before!