We have seen this portrait before, a city desperately trying to rise above what seems a colossal wave of peril.
Las Vegas, however, has a distinct way about revealing its humanity in the worst of times.
This will be no different.
It, too, shall pass.
The global pandemic that is the coronavirus has gripped Southern Nevada in a most relentless manner, its harsh realities being felt from one side of town to the next.
Health. Education. Finances.
It’s testing our measure of perseverance.
It’s challenging our greatest strengths.
But just when it seems worry and heartbreak might prove too overwhelming, we remember a time when all was inspired by our courage, our compassion, our actions.
Beams of hope
If you recall one specific evening in November 2017, 58 rays of light pointed toward the heavens.
It was another signal that, in our darkest moments, we move forward but never forget.
Have faith. We will again.
The Raiders, in a most graceful and reverent ceremony while officially breaking ground on a 65,000-seat venue now named Allegiant Stadium, honored those 58 souls killed at the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting.
From the earth sprung beams of hope, a majestic setting just across the highway from where the frightening sounds of massive gunfire produced the most violent and devastating of events the previous month.
“I look back on that night of celebration and remember thinking how the city had come through such a horrific tragedy as Oct. 1,” Raiders owner Mark Davis said Monday. “I remember thinking how strong and resilient this city was. You know, you always hear how people come here from everywhere, but I’ve never seen a place where they pull together like they do here in hard times.”
Tragedy causes great suffering and distress, but that doesn’t mean all types compare in nature.
We can feel different about each and still anguish just the same, although Las Vegas has shown itself to be much stronger than any lone force of suffering.
It happened with Oct. 1. With our first responders in police and fire and SWAT. With our skilled trauma doctors and nurses. With thousands upon thousands who waited hours in line to donate blood.
We didn’t need for our fears to lessen in order to live again and help others.
I believe the same thing will happen now.
It’s scary. We’re afraid for our well-being and that of family and friends. The world is aching with panic about how many others will contract the virus. How many might die.
And with such terror has predictably arrived financial stress. Whether it be the Great Recession that began in December 2007 and lasted 18 months or the aftermath of our nation being attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, the town is again feeling the impact of a major economic downslide.
“I’m looking out my window right now at the Wynn and Encore,” Davis said. “Amazing, and sad, to think too many (casinos) have closed their doors.”
Sports are secondary
With this truth and countless other businesses now shuttered while people are fired or laid off, it’s impossible to predict the depth or length of time such a nosedive might last.
That’s the frustrating part. A moment such as 9/11 was finite in its negative effect on things like travel and visitor tax and gaming revenue and employment within the hospitality sector.
But nobody knows now when things will return to normal.
History promises we will recover in time as a destination for others. As a community. As people who move forward but never forget.
The NFL draft won’t be in Las Vegas from April 23 to 25, such plans canceled Monday.
Never gave it much of a thought. Easy decision to make.
I cared far more about hungry students from Clark County who, while schools are closed, are still receiving hot meals so many desperately need. More about stories of others helping the elderly, the most susceptible group to this virus, with things like shopping and gathering essential items to keep them home and safe. More about any business that pays hourly employees during this awful time.
Nothing acts as a distraction from real-life turmoil like sports. They offer momentary relief from the worst of times and keep us from totally existing in darkness.
But they’re a bug on the windshield of Las Vegas until this passes.
No draft, no NHL, no NFL, no roster prediction for UNLV basketball matters now.
It’s time to focus on what this town does best: Discover ways to rise above.
Remember, it wasn’t just some slogan for a hashtag or T-shirt. It meant so much more.
It will prove so again.
Contact columnist Ed Graney at email@example.com or 702-383-4618. He can be heard on “The Press Box,” ESPN Radio 100.9 FM and 1100 AM, from 7 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday. Follow @edgraney on Twitter.