Started writing at 1:47 p.m. while sitting poolside at the Grove Hotel in Cherry Grove.
It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon here on Fire Island. I just had two “Margaritas from Hell” at a Fire Island Pines fundraiser for former Congressman Patrick Murphy [D-Pa.]’s Pennsylvania attorney general campaign, but it would be completely remiss of me not to acknowledge the 30th anniversary of a Centers for Disease Control report that detailed the first cases of what would later become known as AIDS.
I was born in Aug. 1981, and that makes me a member of the so-called AIDS generation. I have never lived in an era without AIDS. I have never lost a partner, a relative or a parent to the virus. I have never had to attend the funerals of dozens (or more) friends and acquaintances who succumbed to AIDS. As I write this blog by the pool on this beautiful Sunday afternoon, however, there are people on this beach and elsewhere who continue to live with and battle the virus. There are people on this beach and elsewhere who continue to mourn those who are no longer with us. And more ominously, there are people on this beach and elsewhere who continue to act as though AIDS never happened.
As a journalist who reports on the Grove and the Pines, I have become acutely aware of the epidemic’s devastating toll. The virus claimed an untold number of Fire Islanders whose names I may never know. We have a collective obligation, however, to remember them on this sad milestone. We have the same collective responsibility to acknowledge those on this beach and elsewhere who continue to mourn their loss.