Most of us are feeling some weltschmerz these days. This past weekend, while standing in the freezing rain to get my share of croissants at a local bakery, I felt some hope and encouragement. Word got out that the bakery was opening and people showed up to support them and to get their chocolate croissant fix.

While people maintained social distancing norms, there was an eagerness to engage with strangers, a silent alacrity. Understandably, this crisis has been incredibly challenging for all of us, but definitely some more than others. This has hit the small business owners especially hard. They work on small margins and don’t have access to capital like large corporations. I can’t begin to imagine what they are going through. Some face the dreadful prospect of their life’s work evaporating in front of their eyes. I often think about my friends who are small business owners. They form the backbone of the great American economic engine. And right now, that engine is sputtering.

But it would be premature and foolish to write its obituary. This machine has risen from the ashes time and again. The resilience and fortitude of our people have brought this country back every time we faced seemingly insurmountable odds. We have to support our small businesses. It is not only the right thing to do but it is a moral obligation. That has to be our zeitgeist. These owners are our friends, neighbors and family. If they fail, we all fail. Together we will survive, and it is the only way forward.

— Bob Thukral, Rockford