In America, a few days in March 2020 echo two years later

FILE - Registered nurse Nvard Termendzhyan helps Julio Valladares, 46, change his position while treating him in a COVID-19 unit at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, Dec. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

The conversations went like this: It will be just a few days. It can be kept at bay. There will be some inconvenience, sure, but the world will merely be paused - just a short break, out of an abundance of caution, and certainly not any kind of major grinding to a halt. Certainly not for two years.

Certainly not for hundreds of thousands of Americans who were among us at that moment in mid-March 2020 - who lived through the beginning, watched it, worried about it (or didn't), and who, plain and simple, aren't here anymore.

"Just a temporary moment of time," the man who was then president of the United States insisted. Just a few days. Just a few weeks. Just a few months. Just a few years.

The fact is that on