Panthers: Why Study at Morton College?

Photo by Bianca Cataldo

by Bianca Cataldo

May 19, 2020

People every year, high schoolers, professionists, adults, parents, people that want to achieve a degree or need to obtain a specific certificate, have to decide where to study. “What is the best college, what is the best University to go to, or who offers the best course of study?” If you are thinking about studying at Morton College, you will not regret it.

When you get to Morton College, you are immediately aware of the opportunities this school offers, but to catch them you cannot sit on your hands! Morton College offers Career Programs, Transfer Programs, Adult Education, Online Learning, and even the opportunity to study Abroad!

Educational Experience

One of the strengths of Morton College is the quantity and variety of degrees, certificates and courses it offers. From the Associate in Applied Science, Accounting Degree, Associate in the Automotive Technology, Business Management, the CAD program, Computer Information Systems Degree, Early Childhood Education, Law Enforcement Education, the famous Nursing Program and much more, the school can truly help its students to reach the successful career they dream of.

Another strength of Morton College certainly consists in its professors, which are so prepared and ready to help and support their students. In fact, during office hours, professors are always reliable and ready to answer to any type of question. Most if not all Morton College professors really care about their students, and have a great personality! They are very talented and will truly open student’s eyes on how much they can do! Do not forget about the fact that Morton College is a community college. This makes it easy for students and professors to connect and makes lessons very easy to follow!

A quality educational experience is guaranteed! We already mentioned the variety of programs MC offers and the presence of lighthouse-professors, those who mark your life and teach you to see the world differently, but we didn’t mention yet the assistance that students can get from the “Tutoring Center” such as the Writing Center that can enhance student’s abilities even further. If students take advantage of what Morton College offers, they can really thrive.

Campus

Morton College’s Campus offers entertainment, experiences and events such us meetings with Universities, Educative Talks, or Talks with successful figures such as when the college hosted the Hollywood actor Luis Guzman! Therefore, Morton College is also a great opportunity to develop as a person. In fact, in addition to these meetings and talks, Morton College offers active student clubs and organizations, such as the National Society of Leadership and Success that will help you to develop other skills, without mentioning helping you to get Scholarships in the future. Moreover, through your Academic Achievements you can also become a PTK member, that will help you to get scholarships as well.

Much More

Morton College is a great college for personal and educational experiences. We explored, even if on a surface level, some of the educational opportunities and talked about the Campus, but Morton College is much more. Beautiful structure, organized library, a bookstore, Career Services, Counseling Services, a Fitness Center etc. It has everything a student might need.

Personal Experience

Morton College is a meeting place. It is a place where you will meet people of your community, but also a place where you will meet foreign students, from Ireland, Spain, France, and so on. It is a place of exchanging, that will provide you of a vast cultural experience. Students can meet in the Student Union, in the Library (which allows talking and provides tables in the back), in the Cafeteria, and I encourage you to do it! I encourage you to talk to as many people as possible, get to know your classmates, people that attend Morton College, your professors because this will truly make the biggest difference.

Moreover, to enjoy the College experience, students can also attend games, basketball games, soccer games, baseball games, in the MC Fintess Center to support the school team and meet with friends. Don’t sit on your hands, but make the best of this experience. Morton College is a Community College, it is cheap, it is close, it has a lot to offer, but many people tend to undervalue it. There is not a University or a College that is better or worse, everything can take you where you need to be. Don’t listen to anyone else, if not yourself, if you decided to enroll Morton College, you will surely enjoy this!

To know more visit: https://www.morton.edu/

CARES Act: Morton College Receives $1.2 million to Support Students

CARES Act Offers Stimulus to Fight Impact of Coronavirus
Photo Credit: Google Image

by Bianca Cataldo

May 13, 2020

The CARES Act (Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund) was passed by Congress and signed by the president on March 27. Around $14 billion was distributed to institutions. The Act provides funds to help students facing financial challenges. In fact, during this period, students’ lives may have been disrupted, and they might struggle to get through the semester. It is the responsibility of institutions to inform their students and provide clear instructions and directions they can follow to request the grant.

Morton College received $1,266,321.50 during early April, but only yesterday, May 12, the institution made the announcement that (in agreement with the Department of Education) it will disburse the CARES Act funds to eligible students. However, with thousands of students in need, and Morton College estimated 2000 eligible students, the amount each one will receive is reduced. Even though the school was awarded $1.2 million, the students will individually receive grants that range from $695 to $772 based on need.

Currently enrolled Morton College students which received Financial- Aid for the Semester, are eligible to receive the grant, and they can so apply for it. Many College Students count on CARES Act funding to ease the financial burden caused by Covid-19. However,institutions are not going to be able to help everyone, or to help them as much as they would. In fact, Morton College is trying to help the most in need. However, our College has also other ways to help its students: in addition to CARES Act funds, students can also apply for MC Student Emergency Fund and receive grants that range from $100 to $500 and they can even apply to receive a laptop.

The deadline for CARES Act applications is on August 1st. Students must apply on time and only though their school e-mail. It is important to apply as soon as possible, above all for students that are graduating and that can loose access to their school e-mail. Morton College could have communicated this earlier, but if we apply right away, everyone should be able to receive these grants.

It has been a hard period for everyone, whether students, adults, for the whole community! Students had to deal with the disruption of Campus Activities, and the passage to online-classes without having access to school resources, and for sure many students had to face expenses they were not facing before. People lost their jobs or work less. Hopefully the grant will help students to cover unexpected expenses they faced because of this disruption. In this period, we can be grateful for these resources the State and the College are making available. I hope the most of you are going to apply and be awarded of the grant.

Hopefully this will ease the situation created by the pandemic.

Covid-19 Updates: Illinois Reopen Plan

Restore Illinois: Governor JB Pritzker announces five-phase plan ...
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by Bianca Cataldo

May 9, 2020

Trying to find a balance between the need to restart economies and the fear of restarting Covid-19, Europe and America enter phase two. Everyone is slowly loosening the blocks and arranging measurements of social distancing. The situation is not the same everywhere. Illinois follows its own reopen plan.

The State will reopen in five phases. We are already in phase two and going to enter phase three. Pritzker says that the State will enter phase three once the number of infected and Covid-19 patients declines. Phase three is predicted to start on May 29.

Now, during phase two, we must keep social distancing, trying not to engage in unsafe interactions and we should keep wearing masks when going out. Once in phase three, non-essential workers such as barber shops, offices etc. will reopen and we will be able to see others by keeping safe distances and wearing masks .

If the number of cases keep declining, we might be able to enter phase four, where gatherings of people will be allowed; schools, child care, bars, restaurants will reopen, but face covering and social distancing will still be required. When a vaccine will be ready, we will enter phase five, where, even though there will be safety precautions, the economy will fully reopen.

This is a delicate plan; it is risky, but people are trying to get back their lives. There is the risk of restarting Covid-19, the risk of further deaths, the risk of going back to phase one, but if we are cautious, lucid and above all patient, everything will be normal again. Stay safe!

Sun: Effortless Cure for Mind and Body

La luce del sole: conosciamola meglio - Benvenuto Sole!
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by Bianca Cataldo

May 8, 2020

Mens sana in corpore sano“, a healthy mind in a healthy body. We all know there is a correlation between the health of our body and our well-being. This is why sport is considered a blessing for both mental and physical health. However, sport requires a certain level of effort. Can we be healthier without significant effort? Yes, sun is the answer.

Sun is life and the benefits sun exposure gives are countless for both our mind and our body. As shown by various scientific studies conducted on the argument, the sun represents a real natural medicine for everyone. It is considered a real treatment that cures or prevents osteoporosis (disease that makes the bones more porous and fragile) and that guarantees healthy skin as well as an enhancement in the mood and energy of a person.

CORPORE SANO

The sun, in fact, activates vitamin D, essential for the absorption of calcium in the bones, and so for their fortification. Most of the beneficial effects of solar radiation are mediated via UVB; several human skin diseases, like psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis etc, can be treated with solar radiation. In addition, UV generates nitric oxide (NO) which can improve cardiovascular health. We don’t even need to say that sun exposure promotes muscle relaxation and mobility of the joints.

“MENS SANA”

Sun enhances energy and improves mood; through the activity of neurotransmitters, the immune system‘s defenses increase. Sun exposure is demonstrated to reduce stress and to regulate biological rhythms.

HOW TO SUNBATHE STAYING HOME?

In this period, sun can help us staying both physically and mentally healthy! In normal conditions, an half hour walk would be sufficient to satisfy this need. Now, we need to get organized to sunbathe.

If you have a backyard, you should take a moment to relax and sunbathe, while drinking something or reading, and why not, maybe while doing some physical exercises! If you have a balcony, that’s the moment to use it! Last, if you don’t have these spaces, you can open the window when the sunlight filters directly through it and get some fresh air. It is important to do this everyday. Always remember to protect yourself with sunscreen and to not exaggerate with sun exposure because, in that case, sun becomes damaging.

Take moments to relax and regenerate, this will help you feeling happier and being healthier in this period!

Cut Off from Social Life: Hindsight Selection

Cell phone in darkness - Syncsite
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The spread of Covid-19 and the context are factors of stress and burden for you and everyone else. In this period, we suddenly saw ourselves cut off from our social life. We can’t go to public places, we can’t see each other, we can’t touch each other, we must keep the distance.

By Bianca Cataldo

April 20, 2020

We hear words such as quarantine, isolation, and social distancing. In specific, we are told to limit our movements and contacts. However, we are not told to social isolate. Social distancing does not equal social isolation. In fact, the distance we have to keep is only physical.

We need to stay in contact with the people we love. It is true that to protect them and ourselves, we should avoid physical contacts, but it is also true that we can stay in touch through text messages, phone calls or even video calls.

Before this situation, we suffered from a loss of true contacts, a loss of the beauty in our relationships due to technology. It was like we devalued them, we devalued eye contact, touch, physical presence. We missed missing each other because we could always text in the mean time. We lost that desire or necessity of seeing the other person.

However now, we realize that maybe this wasn’t true. Now we miss it. We miss that direct contact, hearing each other’s voice, being in each other’s presence, and so maybe none of it was true. We did not see it, but we still valued others. We just took it for granted.

Technology was a way of staying in contact, but it never replaced the feeling of staying together! So now, something that was seen as an “enemy” for our relationships, it becomes a “friend”. Now technology is the way we can feel close again.

When social distancing started, we suddenly felt lonely. We felt lost, without having someone who came looking for us, at least at the beginning because, then, that someone came for everyone. Someone that was always there, or someone that surprised us. Someone that during this quarantine proved to be an essential part of our days.

In these periods inevitably comes out the truth of people, so, maybe we eliminated someone from our life, while someone else became our daily happiness. Someone was able to be close even if he was far. Someone else made these days special. It doesn’t matter if they were your parents, your siblings, your family, or that friend, that person made you feel happy, he found a way to stay close to you and make you smile.

From now on, you will know who’s really there. You will know who’s important to you. You will know who you thought about and who was thinking about you. So, call the people you love, text them, find a way to be close to them, to talk about your days and to go through this quarantine with them.

If they made you feel happy, it’s not a coincidence. When everything ends, we will know who’s really there. We will know who made us feel happy. After this, we will hold on to those who count.

Covid-19: The Race for the Vaccine

Un possibile vaccino "antinfluenzale universale" ha appena ...
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by Bianca Cataldo

April 17, 2020

Harvard researches claim that coronavirus resembles a seasonal flu which returns each winter. It means that a single lockdown will not stop the pandemic, so that further lockdowns and social distancing measurements will be needed at least until 2022, if a vaccine is not found.

This situation is creating an heavy and stressful climate. When we check the updates, or when we hear the news, we see that around the world there are now more than 2 million cases! We see death. We constantly assist to the spreading of this virus, and it seems that the numbers don’t decrease, we don’t see the light yet, this curve doesn’t flatten.

We keep following these measurements, we keep making sacrifices, but we don’t see any light at the end of this tunnel. We know what we are facing now. We know how important it is to social distancing, but we also know that the vaccine will be our deus ex machina. We keep wondering when will coronavirus pandemic end. We don’t know yet if this virus will abate during summer months, like an average flu, but we know that scientists all over the world are working on a vaccine.

The whole world is waiting for it, the vaccine that will stop coronavirus. So, we now see a dim light, after scientists at the University of Oxford claimed they will have the vaccine ready by September 2020.

Experts are skeptical since vaccines take about 12 to 18 months to be developed, but the lead researcher for the vaccine, Sarah Gilbert, said that even though the timing is ambitious, it is achievable. Moreover, she assures that the vaccine has an 80% probability of success.

Since she thinks the vaccine has a strong chance of working, the team is already planning on producing it. Gilbert’s team has used the same technology for about 10 different vaccines, so they are not concerned. This vaccine is going to be tested on humans very soon, and by the mid of next month the trial will have 500 people in testing. They are determined to lead the world out of lockdown!

Quarantine: Manage Your Time

How to Stop Procrastinating Once And For All
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by Bianca Cataldo

April 6, 2020

Coronavirus and quarantine represent a change, a total upheaval of our stability, but man is naturally predisposed to resist changes because each one of us has extraordinary resources. In this condition we are challenged. After this period we will change. We can get out of this situation improved, with new competence, reinforced or even new skills. I know that now we are attentive to this situation, but we don’t have to forget that after this, our life will go back to “normality”, so we can use this time as a moment of introspection and growth.

Now, many people would just procrastinate and get behind, but this attitude brings dissatisfaction and anxiety in the present and in the future. It is a vicious cycle that forces us to run in this wheel without getting anywhere. So time flies. Days are too short, and we don’t achieve anything. However, we have a whole day that we can manage to the best. Now more than ever we can get the most or the least out of our days. We can achieve everything or nothing. It’s all in our hands.

During this period there are some skills that can thrive. Even though we are on our own and it became so easy to procrastinate, we still need to keep up with our commitments, projects and so on. Here, our discipline, self-motivation and time management skills come into play.

There is so much we can do to develop our time management skills and, as a consequence, become more productive. I am not talking about the famous “to-do-list”. So, first of all, we do not manage time, we manage ourselves. The most important point and the only one I follow strictly is to define priorities.

It’s useless to write out a “to-do-list” and try to follow it and accomplish everything, multitask, stress about something you weren’t able to do… rather it is best to choose what needs to get done and do it before anything else. When I do what needs to get done, then I am calm and relaxed and I can dedicate my time to what I want to do. Then, it’s also important to keep in mind that future and present are too close, so if we need or want to do something we don’t have to rely on our “future-self”, but we need to start right away!

Last but not least, our mindset, determination, discipline and will power are going to make the difference. If we are strong within, we can really do everything. In the end, I also wanted to share some unusual time-management tips given by the New York Times best-selling author Kevin Kruse after interviewing very successful and productive people.

These extremely productive people do not divide the day in 24 hours, rather in 1440 minutes. Every minute is important in a day and must be used to the best. Then, they work on their most important activities at least two hours every morning. This might sound weird, but they do not work overtime because they value their energy. In fact, it is very important to take time to regenerate, so that we can focus on what we do, which means do it to the best and spend the least time on it.

With this in mind, I hope you’ll keep going on with your life and you’ll find that energy and grit to keep working on yourself. You can use these days to achieve what you never achieved… maybe you’ll learn to play that instrument, to speak another language, or you’ll finally read that book or work-out at home. Free that energy! We are stronger than we think.

Life in the Time of Corona

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Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/San Francisco Chronicle via Polaris

by James M Abrusci

April 1, 2020

It is Justice, and not Charity, which is the principle of the plan” 

—Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice 

The sudden outbreak of Coronavirus has led to many changes in peoples’ lives. Many Morton College students will have heard about the recent stimulus package passed by the government, and many students are eligible for the benefits in the package. The $1,200 check is the most talked about item, but is that enough, and is that all that’s at stake? 

March On 

In March, the government passed a $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the economic shutdown amid Coronavirus fears. The buzzword that people are hearing is “$1,200”, which is the amount an adult would receive if they filed taxes in 2019 and made less than $75,000 that year. There’s an additional $500 available for each child you have. 

Federal unemployment benefits will be expanded in addition to existing state benefit programs, and benefits will also be extended. In Illinois, the maximum benefit is currently $471 per week for up to 26 weeks. The new federal stimulus benefits will add an additional $600 per week, totaling $1071, and it will add an additional 13 weeks of benefits, totaling 39 weeks. 

Federal student loan interest has been frozen for 2 months. Automatic student loan payments have been frozen until Sept. 30th. Wage garnishment due to federal loans has been frozen.  

April Fools 

In the United States, most people obtain health insurance through their employer. In the last week of March, over 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. Millions more are expected to follow suit. If you lost your job in March, the last day you could use your health insurance was likely on March 31st. On April 1st, America woke up to a grim reality, and it was no joke. 

In the United States alone, our own government estimates that over 100,000 people could die to Covid-19. For perspective, 117,000 Americans died during World War I. And in a good year, it’s estimated that almost 70,000 Americans already die every year due to a lack of health care. It’s being widely reported that people are avoiding hospitals out of fear of getting sick. 

Our health care system is operating with a just-in-time, maximum efficiency model, which is showing strain under the sudden demand for care, and this systemic strain could result in a loss of life. Many hospitals have begun to ration care, and they’re asking people who do not have true emergencies to stay home. Many health care workers have reported that they lack basic personal protective equipment, and say they feel exposed to the virus. 

A few benevolent health insurance companies have waived costs related to Covid-19 testing and treatment, but others have yet to take these steps. Many people have posted their hospital bills on social media after receiving treatment for Covid-19, and, even with insurance, people reported out of pocket costs as high as $1,500. One poor soul who lacked insurance received a bill for $35,000. 

Mayday 

By May 1st, the peak of the viral infection will have hopefully passed. But by then, millions of Americans will have been out of work for over a month, they may have medical bills from Covid-19, and rent will still be due. Many city and state governments have already enacted laws which protect renters from being evicted during the crisis, but many haven’t, and many more won’t. Millions of Americans are unsure whether they will have a roof over their heads.  

In the stimulus bill, there is eviction protection for renters in buildings insured by the federal government, but this only represents 8 million of the more than 44 million Americans that rent. Technically, landlords can begin to evict tenants on May 1st if they haven’t paid rent, even if they were unable to pay due to Coronavirus.  

Many tenants have threatened landlords with rent strikes, and some businesses have openly refused to pay their upcoming rents and mortgages.  

In this time of crisis, Americans are becoming reliant on the Charity of their landlord, and the Charity of health insurance corporations, rather than relying on their government to secure their human rights, and this, Thomas Paine would agree, is an insufferable situation.  

“…time was not passing…it was turning in a circle…” 

― Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude 

Illinois Keeps Working to Flatten the Curve We Are The Champions

Chicago's 'We Are The Champions' Singalong Unites Us In COVID-19 ...
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by Bianca Cataldo

March 31, 2020

No one seems to be immune to the Coronavirus. Illinois Governor JB Pritzker will extend the State’s stay-at-home order until April 30th, in order to avoid to overwhelm the hospitals. The key to save lives is again to prevent the spreading of this virus. He says “We need to maintain our course and keep working to flatten the curve.”

We should listen.

First of all, we should stop to underestimate Covid-19. It was underestimated when it started, in China, it was again underestimated when it got to Italy, it was underestimated from Europe, UK and even USA! We all underestimated it even after seeing what happened and what’s happening.

We all know the data. Around 850,000 cases and 40,000 deaths worldwide. Almost 190,000 cases in the U.S. followed (in order) by Italy (105,000), Spain (95,000), China (80,000), Germany (70,000), France (50,000), and so on. Everyday we register new cases. It is a pandemic, which probably won’t stop until we find a vaccine. If we had taken precautions from the beginning probably now we wouldn’t be in this situation. If people didn’t travel when this virus started, probably it would never have gotten to Germany, Italy, France, Spain and so on. It wouldn’t be here. But now this is the situation and we have to overcome it together.

Yes we are quarantined! And we must follow Pritzker’s stay-at-home order because now we know that this virus cannot be underestimated, not again. So, stay at home! You’re not trapped at home, rather you are safe at home.

Wednesday March 25th, the city of Chicago was full of people. People were gathering, walking, running along Lake Michigan, enjoying the warm weather. Why? Why would someone do that? Gatherings of people are banned. Gatherings of people need to be avoided! We need to be physically separated, social distancing. But think how united we truly are! Each one of us is essential, each one of us plays a role in preventing the spreading of COVID-19.

Pritzker’s stay-at-home order mandates people to stay in their houses, maintain social distance of at least six feet from others while in public and limit their travel to meet essential needs. Only grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies are open. I know how difficult it gets, everyone has down moments, but if we are united, all of it will end soon. We should not let this period to be further extended, we have to stay at home now!

Stay at home for yourself and for all the people that go to work still, for all the medical workers that are in contact with this virus to save lives, for all the doctors that struggle, do not go home, do not sleep because the hospitals are overwhelmed and because they sacrifice to save our lives. Respect and help them. Thank you to all of these medical workers, and to all of the people that are working at the grocery store, or at gas stations, and also to all the people that do their part by staying at home. We are all essential. We will overcome this period if we stay united.

That same day, inspired by Italians singing from their balconies, on March 25th locked-down Chicagoans decided to cope with social distancing together: that day, everyone could hear claps, bells and cheers and see a game of lights from South Loop apartments. Now, the neighbors punctually unite at 8 pm playing music, singing and flashing lights to support each other. Friday night they decided to play Queen’s “We are The Champions”. And we really are. We really are the champions when we are supporting each other.

“We are social distancing, but man, I feel closer to the neighborhood than ever before.” Even if we are physically distant, when we are so united for a cause, we are closer than ever, “and man” we will overcome this.

COVID-19 "I Want You"

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by Bianca Cataldo

March 22, 2020

This is a world that always runs and never stops! People live busy lives with packed schedules and they always run… to school, to work… Stop! Streets are empty. Schools, gyms, malls, everything closes. Ghost towns. It seems a movie, it is an apocalyptic scenario, an unprecedented situation. But it is a worldwide situation. This is not something trivial, things are getting really crazy. Coronavirus cases top 300,000 worldwide with more than 10,000 deaths! 30,000 cases, 400 deaths and almost 800 people in critical conditions only in the U.S.

It is a hecatomb. It is a war, but we are not fighting it with weapons, rather by staying at home. Now we are called to stay at home and to social distancing. Wherever people followed these strategies, the spreading of COVID-19 slowed down! So, right now, this is the most straight-forward and maybe fastest way to fight it and to prevent further deaths. These are all strategies to slow the spread of this virus, this is all we have at the moment. If people keep recovering, and there are no more new cases, we might even stop Coronavirus and go back to our normal lives!

Join the fight! I know how it feels right now. It is a sacrifice. We were living a frenetic and full life, we always ran, we didn’t have time for ourselves! And now, we are on the other extreme, where everything is frozen and we just have to stay at home, we are left with ourselves and everything else just disappears. The school, the workplace for many of you, the gym, the mall, there is none of it.

Now, you just move for essential needs, you go to the grocery and even there, the scenario is apocalyptic! The streets are almost empty, no traffic. The shelves of the grocery store are almost empty as well, you don’t find water, stores are even running out of pans! Because people were not used to cook, they used to eat out, or to eat fast food. They didn’t have time to cook, or to eat!

Maybe we needed to stop. So, 2020 brought us a pandemic that stopped us. Now, we have the time to think and really understand how, in our everyday life, we don’t take time, we don’t know how to take time, but we take everything for granted. We never appreciated what we have, while now even going to the grocery is a joy because it’s the only time you go out! Now, we have to social distancing and we notice how far we already were! Maybe after this period, we’ll know the value of what and who we have.

In the end, we will know how to appreciate things. We’ll go back to school, we’ll go back to work, we’ll be able to go to the mall again, to Starbucks, to McDonald’s, to downtown, we’ll see each other again, we’ll hug each other again! But for now, we must protect ourselves and protect everybody else. That’s our time to be selfless, to stop, and to think. When everything ends, we’ll be new people, we’ll be people that know how to sacrifice, people that fought a war, like our ancestors. So “I want you” to fight.

Today we stay at home. Tomorrow we’ll be stronger.