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OVERVIEW OF STORY: As Sepember 11 approaches, the impact on Ground Zero survivors' heightens. The faces of the dead loom large, and the cries and shrieks of the frightened to death pierce all armor. Then, there is the haunting question: "Why Am I Alive?" All these conspire to force one to revaluate his or her life each approaching September 11. This is about that.

GROUND ZERO, NEW YORK, NY--04-07-28--1052 Days From Ground Zero Plus One--It isn't easy to sleep these nights. September 11 is approaching. I count the days and minutes, somewhat like a man in a prison waiting for the day when the scrape of the key in the rusty lock signals it is time to leave the dungeon and enter the sunlight.

The new show, Rescue Me, doesn't help much. I felt a big knot in my gut as I watched Dennis Leary's rage and anger splatter across the television screen like so much vomit. In real life, the actor has suffered the pain of many losses and is the "fireman's friend," but his show boils up the dead fish floating in the bottom of the pond for some of us.This hole in my soul asks me why I am alive and so many others dead

There is an anger and rage deeply rooted in the marrow of those eye witnesses to the holocaust of September 11, 2001, and some guilt and shame. I am reminded that deep within me is this hole in my soul that speaks to me and says: "You should have died that day. Why are you alive and so many others dead?"

Like the nightmares I have been having. They are gripping in intensity, far more vivid and churning than any dramatization I might see on television, for they arise out of the primordial ooze of human emotions, jumbled and mixed up in images that flash like rolling thunder and than CLAP so loud you bolt up in the bed, sweat dripping off your forehead, and your wife clutching and soothing you as though you were some child who heard the floor creak and saw the boogeyman's shadow.

I was falling the other night. Tumbling through space. End over end and then soaring as I opened my arms and watched the earth telescope toward me. I don't remember crashing to the earth. I only remember the ledge and it falling away, and the empty space of gravity sucking me down like a rock.

They say it is the recall of watching the bodies leaping from the World Trade Center Towers. I was there with my neck craned upward, my body and mind frozen, numbed into a state of emotional shock, as one after another of the trapped people leaped or were pushed or fell from the fiery inferno nearly a quarter mile above."Tumbling Woman" represented those who fell or jumped from the Twin Towers on Nine-Eleven

I remember not long after that I was in Rockefeller Center and was mesmerized by a bronze statue of a woman on her back, smashing into the ground. Eric Fischl, the sculptor, had lovingly depicted the horror of those who fell or jumped from the Twin Towers on Nine-Eleven in an articulate way, making the woman's impact and simultaneous death almost beautiful. There were such graceful lines about her figure despite the rendering of her terrible death. It was provoking art, that made you wonder about the value of life and how wasteful situations can be that threaten its fragility.

Unfortunately, the scupture was hailed as heresy, defaming the glorious deaths of so many in such a cruel and insensitive way. The statue was draped like a patient with some virulent disease so that when you passed by you wondered what was behind it. Then, it was removed from Rockefeller Center, as though the dust and ashes of the dead can be removed from their graves.Go To for story (second half of story)

I thought about that statue a lot over the many days since Nine Eleven. I thought of how it reminded me of a Sentinel of Vigilance's immortality--that even in death there is life, even in the pits of despair and empty loneliness can blossom hope and belief.

It isn't easy when September 11 rolls around. This will be my third one. It reminds me of another "mortality date" among the many in my life. But this is different than escaping bullets in Vietnam, or escaping the ravages of colon cancer. September 11 was about the death of something deeper in all Americans. It was the death of the "fantasy" of security and safety.As Thomas Jefferson reminds us "The price of liberty at home is Vigilance"

Maybe that is what saddens me the most about the approaching event. I feel so powerless to protect my children and grandchildren from Terrorism's long, ugly arm. I was, like millions before me, willing to go to war in far-off lands to protect my homeland. The idea of giving up your life in some god-forsaken place for a people and culture you might never understand or respect, was, I thought, the price of liberty at home.

I know today that's not true.

The price of liberty at home is Vigilance here, now.

It has nothing to do with fighting wars abroad, for there is no way to hold hands and keep the tides from coming in. But, there is a reason to hold hands. That is to protect the children and their Children's Children's Children.

September 11, 2001 has haunted me because it is a hallmark day. It ushers in the duty we have as individuals to become Sentinels of Vigilance in our homes, communities, businesses and to reevaluate our way of life so that we think more about the future of the coming generations than in simply lining our pockets with today's profits.

The greatest investment in the future is the Pledge of Vigilance, for without some commitment to fighting Fear, Intimidation and Complacency for the benefit of our future citizens, then little of what we do today has much value or meaning.

This the Terrorists feed upon.

They question the Western cultures ethics by demonizing our capitalism. They see us as profit hungry creatures who are more interested in instant gratification than we are in preserving and protecting the roots of our current glory.

They have a point. One billion Muslims and more growing each day are shaking the trees and hoping the monkeys will fall. They stand violently opposed to modern culture that is so "I" centered that the "We" and "Us" seems to have little chance surfacing.

Many of us forget that on September 11, 2001, hundreds upon hundreds died as a reminder to us all that we need to fight Terrorism from within before we can defeat it without. We must learn to convert Fear into Courage, to change Intimidation into Conviction, and to quash Complacency with Right Actions that benefit the Children's Children's Children.I'm trying to deal  with my Fears and Memories of Nine-Eleven and get rid of my cold sweats

If we don't deal this now, we will all wake up in cold sweats, seeing burning bodies leaping from windows and wondering why we are alive when so many of our friends are being rendered into sculptures, symbols of the glorification of their deaths that no one will ever see.




Go To July 26 "Fear Of A Terrorist Mouse"

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