ZERO PLUS 1090 DAYS (7 DAYS TO GROUND ZERO PLUS THREE YEARS)--New
York, NY, Saturday, September 4, 2004--I
feel sick to my stomach as I watch the news unfold about the
killing of children in a Russian middle school.
As of this date,
some 250 have been reported killed. Another nearly 100 are
on the grave list. In the end, the numbers may soar.
sick as the news unfolded about the killing of the children
in a Russia school
There were some
1,200-1,500 parents, teachers, school staff and children in
the School No 1 in Beslan, one of the bigger towns in the
tiny province of North Ossetia, southern Russian, celebrating
Learning Day, traditionally the opening day when the masked
Terrorists, heavily armed and laden with bombs, took command
of the school and threatened to kill scores of students if
any of the Terrorists were shot.
bombs throughout the building and herded the children and
adults into a gymnasium, not allowing them any food or water
as the siege grew explosive.
Then the horror
arrived to ferry dead bodies from the school when some twenty
were killed in the initial seizure of the school, explosions
were reported. The Terrorists had wired explosives in the
gym and throughout the building.
began to flee. The Terrorists reportedly began shooting them
in the back. The Russian forces opened fire. Bombs and bullets
singed the air, creating a wall of lead and a pile of dead--mostly
took command of a Russian Middle School
roof collapsed as explosives sent it crashing down, burying
and burning to death countless children and adults. The acrid
smell of burning flesh seared nostrils as gun smoke fogged
the sweltering afternoon.
In the end distraught
mothers frantically searched for their sons and daughters.
They tore off the sheets covering the dead looking for their
loved ones. One mother found her daughter dead beneath a sheet,
knelt, sobbing, and kissed the child's forehead.
Seven days from
now the reality of thousands of children's screams will be
heard by those of us who know the inner workings of FAMILY
11, 2001, instead of a school in Russia, buildings in the
United States were attacked by Terrorists who flew suicide
bombs into them.
A total of 2948
people died in the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and an ill-fated
crash of a jetliner headed toward the White House.
These were mothers,
fathers, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces,
brothers and sisters.
members for each victim represents a least at least ten pods--two
parents, two grandparents, two children, two brothers, two
sisters--at the minimum. That creates at least 29,480 direct
family victims of the deaths of Nine Eleven.
that flowed September 11, 2001 will flow again on September
The tears that
flowed that day will flow again on September 11, 2004. The
29,480 direct family members will kneel symbolically and kiss
the foreheads of their mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles,
aunts, cousins and loved ones just as the Russian mother knelt
and kissed her child's cold, lifeless forehead.
But it doesn't
when someone dies, the average attendance at a funeral is
estimated to be 250 people. This includes friends, associates,
loved ones with whom a person has created some lasting relationship
with over the course of his or her life.
250 "Related Family" members by the deaths of 2,948
expands the suffering of loss to 737,000--nearly three quarters
of a million people directly impacted by the loss of someone
they cared for enough to personally grieve at their funeral.
This does not
include, of course, the hundreds and thousands of others who
felt a kinship with all those who died that day.
there on NineEleven watching people leap to their deaths
I have a special
relationship with all the deaths of Nine Eleven. I was there
that day, watching as people leaped from the burning buildings,
soaring through the air on their way to certain, sudden death.
With each body
plummeting to the earth, those of us craning our necks sucked
in a deep breath and enjoined our souls with those about to
die, as though we were in some mystical way joining them on
the last flight of life.
When each body
hit the earth, there was a deep groan, an inner cry of pain
from us that was like a knife in the soul. It was as though
we lost something dear to us, even though the figure falling
was a mere dot in the blue sky, arms flailing, face unrecognizable.
Yet, we knew each one who tumbled down, as we might know a
mother, father, brother, sister, cousin, nephew, niece.
Hundreds of people
died that way that day. Some held hands as they leapt, similar
to the scenes of the Russian children running hand in hand,
half-naked, from the burning school, hoping the Terrorist
sniper wouldn't shoot them in the back as he had others who
tried to escape the holocaust.
World Trade Center collapsed crashing down from a quarter
mile high in less than ten seconds
Then the final
moment came on September 11, 2001, as it did on September
3, 2004 in Russia.
The World Trade
Center collapsed. The buildingcrashed down from a quarter
mile high in less than ten seconds, imploding on itself, burying
thousands in the rubble of twisted steel and concrete.
In Russia, the
roof of the gymnasium collapsed as explosives undermined its
structural integrity, raining down upon the fragile bodies
of the children deadly beams of steel and wood, and charring
their bodies with flames and choking their lungs with deadly
died quickly, but fire is an ugly creature. I shudder to think
how many were tortured by it before their consciousness was
extinguished by the pain.
Explosions inside the Russian
school buildings brought down the roof
As America approaches
the anniversary of Nine Eleven, the horror of Terrorism creeps
closer not farther away.
A new standard
of horror has been established for Terrorism. Since Terrorism
seeks solely to inflict Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
into its victims, what better tool than to kill defenseless
children in schools to accomplish this goal?
A radical Terrorist
looking to make a mark on the world may divert his or her
attention from a subway or financial institution and focus
now on a crowded school where there is no security, no protection
against a band of Terrorists taking it over.
children have been off limits for Terrorists.
But no more.
That's what makes
me sick to my stomach.
protect the children from Terrorism's harm?
The world stands
by and ignores the children as the key to Terrorism's power.
Instead of ringing Sentinels of Vigilance around our children,
we protect our banks and financial centers and our political
leaders while the children walk naked.
the need for each household in America and the world to take
the Pledge of Vigilance and to become a Sentinel of Vigilance.
Who will protect
the children from Terrorism's harm?
Only the families
of the community can do that, but they must become a militia
of Vigilance. They must take the Vow of Vigilance and be prepared
to thwart any and all attacks on the children--whether they
be physical or emotional.
did this happen? Where was our protection?"
One of the Russian
women, a mother, cried out before the Terrorists blew up the
school: "How did this happen? Where was our protection?"
will cry the same song when the Terrorists take over their
school, threaten their children.
But it will be
too late, as it was in Russia.
than Defense is called for today.
If we are going
to learn anything from the Sentinels of Vigilance who died
on September 11, 2001, as well as the hundreds of new Sentinels
of Vigilance who died in Russia yesterday, September 3, 2004,
we must learn to assume the role of Parent and Citizen of
Vigilance today to drive away the aspirations of the Beast
of Terror that we are "unprepared" to withstand
a small nation of some six million, sleeps peacefully at night
because every citizen is a Sentinel of Vigilance. Each has
in the home weapons and is trained in the militia. Every one
is a Warrior of Vigilance, able and trained to protect the
children with their lives. They do not rely on government
to protect them--they are the government.
America and the
world needs to have Vigilance under their children's beds.
The Beast of Terror is real and is ugly and will kill children
in a blink of an eye because by doing so the people will scream
in Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
But, if one is
a Citizen of Vigilance, a Parent of Vigilance, a Loved One
of Vigilance, that power to stand up to Terrorism is like
a flack jacket. Terrorism cowers in the presence of such Vigilance
for it cannot gain any foothold in Fear when Courage is stronger,
or stack the deck with Intimidation when Conviction trumps
it, or deal Complacency off the bottom when Right Actions
for future generations keeps a Vigilant eye on the hands.
of Vigilance around Ground Zero is a reminder that we
cannot bury the dead
How many children
have to die before we realize that we--the Citizens of Vigilance--must
defend our own?
We have a Circle
of Vigilance around Ground Zero in America. It is not a graveyard
or a memorial as so many want to make it.
It is a living
reminder, a beacon, a legacy of learning that continues to
remind all who have the foresight that we cannot bury the
We must not let
the memories of those who died be eaten by the maggots of
time and the ravages of Complacency.
of Vigilance never died. They remain alive and well, hovering
over Ground Zero, whispering to those who have ears to hear:
"Semper Vigilantes....Semper Vigilantes..." Always
Vigilant. Always Vigilant.
Now, they have
hundreds of new Sentinels of Vigilance to join them. They
are Russian children, parents, teachers and loved ones who
died the other day. They join the Circle of Vigilance and
whisper in chorus: "Semper Vigilantes...Semper Vigilantes..."
If you cannot
hear them, then you need to unplug your Complacency.
in to the Sentinels of Vigilance and hear the Russian
children sing to you....."Semper Vigilantes"
To tune in to
the Sentinels of Vigilance, take the Pledge of Vigilance and
each day renew your Vow of Vigilance.
When you do,
you will hear the Voices of Vigilance, and the song of the
Russian children singing to you..."Semper Vigilantes...Semper
And most of all,
you will hear your children and loved ones better...for they
will know you are their Sentinel of Vigilance, one who doesn't
wait for government to do what a parent should.