THE VigilanceVoice

November 13, Tuesday-Ground Zero Plus 63


        I was sitting in the doctor’s office, waiting for my test results.   I had cancer a few years ago, and they check frequently to see if there are any signs of return.   Cancer is my living bodily terrorism.  Cancer victims are told that one single cell  may still be ricocheting around in their blood, waiting to attack again.  Cancer patients know the insidious terror of being the host to physical terrorism.  It lives with us, as does the constant threat of terrorism here in America.  It destroys the peaceful happy-go-lucky life we once led, and replaces it with a  deadly life—where, no matter how much sun is shining, or how happy we are to be at peace and ease with the world and our loved ones, there, lurking in the shadows of our bodies, stalking us, waiting to attack, is the threat of cancer's return.
          I saw the cancer of terrorism as I sat in the doctor's waiting room.    Around me, people were talking about the most recent terrorism—the crash of American Airlines flight immediately after take off.
         “An air-to-air missile.”
        “No way the engines just fell off!  It was sabotage.”
        “They’re everywhere.   Why don’t they leave New York alone.”
        “I used to be an optimist…but I give up.  I’ll never get on a plane.”
        “One of those mechanics…it just takes one."
         “How could it just be an accident…”
        I listened closely to the conversations--or perhaps they were just comments.   Earlier, my daughter had called—she’s a federal law enforcement agent.  She told me to stay clear of JFK.   She knows my instincts to run toward the center of problems.
        My wife had called, letting me know the plane was lost on takeoff, apparently from an engine failure.
        It was the cancer cell.   Whatever tripped it—either by intention or accident—the cancer was roiling through the body of America.   There was hope in many that it was some mechanical flaw, some bizarre set of circumstance that could be explained.   But even though there might be a logical, non-terrorist answer, most everyone was looking for that single cancer cell--the one that led to Mr. Evil.
         I found it interesting that Complacency ruled.  They spoke from helpless ground.  They had no solutions, only problems.    I thought of the Parents Of Vigilance as a sort of chemotherapy, attacking the cancer.   What would they have said had they known there was a way to combat Fear, Intimidation and Complacency?
         Across from me was a mother and daughter.    The girls was maybe eight-to-ten years old.   Mother was painting the daughter's nails red as she waited.   The young girl overheard the conversations by the older adults.   I wondered how the young girl was processing the helplessness of the older people around her.  
         I realized then the power of the Parents of Vigilance, and gave the mother a card with the Pledge on it.   I told her to look at the website, that there was Hope, and Terrorism could be fought and won.  I smiled at the little girl.  She smiled back.                                                          

Nov. 12, Monday--Ground Zero Plus 62

        Yesterday, on Sunday the 11th, my wife and I donned sandwich boards--the kind people wear on the streets to advertise a new opening or special of a store or restaurant--and walked the streets of New York City passing out cards, inviting passersby to become a "Parent Of Vigilance."

      We went to Battery Park, in lower Manhattan, where there was a vigil for the tragic loss of the many thousands of Parents' Of Vigilance who died on September 11.   It was icy cold, and the wind blew in chilling gusts off the bay where the Statute of Liberty stands vigilant, and the Stanton Island Ferry carves its way back and forth, ferrying people from the "greatest city in the world," to the small island where my son-in-law's parents live.

           I found it interesting to stand in the street holding out small cards with the Pledge Of Vigilance, and a sandwich board on me hawking the option to become a Parent Of Vigilance.   It was interesting to note those parents with children who shook their heads or refused to take a card.   I thought they would be the first to grab one, just to see what it was.  But, that doesn't necessarily mean they don't care--but it did remind me of the battle to win over the Complacency in those who might deny the presence of Terrorism even in the absence of direct attacks on them.
           Sometimes it takes an explosion in a person's backyard to awaken them to danger.   What people forget is that Terrorism is indiscriminate--it strikes at random, without conscience.    And, it's not all external.  
          The Terrorism I fear the most infiltrating a child is Complacency.  It is the lack of concern over battling it constantly--especially the lingering fears and intimidations that result in the child--the child who doesn't speak out the fears he or she harbors, that drip like acid on the forest of nightmares spawning like fungus in the dark nest of the mind.  
          Our grandson awoke the other night screaming.   When asked what his dream was about, he said it was about the dark.   He couldn't pin it down, and we listened intently to hear what its source might be--knowing, of course, it was embedded in some kind of fear.   We talked about it.   We said it was just the bogeymen of the mind--the terrorists of the imagination.
         "You mean like a bully?"  he replied.
         "Yes," we answered.   Then I pried deeper and asked him what a "bully" was.
         "Somebody who is mean, who wants to hurt you."
         "Yes," we answered.
         "And, do you have to be afraid of a bully?"
         "No," Matt said.  "But I was."
         We talked about Courage and Conviction, in terms he would understand.    And realized the Terrorism of the mind conjures up creatures we cannot imagine as adults who roam the dark of the night.    I have my own demons of the mind.   I believe we all do.   Adults swipe them away, but children aren't as easily cleansed of them.
         The Sentinels of Vigilance were called upon to help Matt face his unknown, faceless, amorphic fear.   Just a few confident words, just a little concern for his fears was all that was necessary.
         I hoped those Parents of Vigilance who didn't take a card would one day at least look it over.  
        My terror is that thought they might not.  My Vigilance is to keep passing out the cards.

Nov. 11, Sunday--Ground Zero Plus 61

        I hear the F-14's overhead.  All night they have been buzzing the city, prowling for terrorists who might target the President of the United States.
        I am going with my wife to the rally today.  To offer the Pledge of Vigilance to all those who wish to fight Terrorism in their homes.
        Above, the F-14's remind me and the children that Terrorism lurks.
        I will retake the Pledge this morning.   I will know the pilots of the planes are Sentinels of Vigilance.

Nov. 10, Saturday--Ground Zero Plus 60

        Today is the Marine Corps Birthday.   I salute all my fellow Marines who are boxed in the bowels of ships waiting to land on the desert, and those who are mixing blood and bullets in the sand.
        I fought the Beast of Terror in jungles, with pouring rain, and steaming heat.  My comrades fight today in sweltering sun, and a ravaged land.
        I pray for their safety, but I know many will die.  We were trained to die for what we believed--to not fear death, but to face it.   Semper Fi--Always Faithful.
       You who give your lives, or are prepared too, you are my Sentinels of Vigilance also.  

Nov. 9, Friday--Ground Zero Plus 59

        I saw a headline yesterday.   It read:  "Generation Nine Eleven."   It was about the children of Terrorism, young people living under the shadows of vulnerability--a new and different yoke for them to wear.
       We are quick to label events and place them in capsules of time and events, but the Nine Eleven Generation will face something far more challenging than previous generations--its security has been undermined.
        One solution for Generation Nine Eleven is to become a Parent Of Vigilance.  Children can protect children.  They have been watching out for each other for millenniums.   It is built into their genes.
       Brothers, watching over sisters, sisters watching over brothers, cousins, nephews, nieces all keeping a Vigilant eyes on one another--this is nothing new.  But, it requires a deeper twist today than in the past.  Today, it is about handling the issues of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.    These have been and will continue to be the great weapons of internal destruction terrorism uses, and the Shields of Vigilance--Courage, Conviction and Action will offer Generation Nine Eleven great protection over one another.
       Welcome to Semper Vigilantes, Generation Nine Eleven.

Nov. 8, Thursday--Ground Zero Plus 58

        I was walking down Broadway toward Lower Manhattan and the site of the World Trade Center disaster when I stopped and stared into a store window.   There in the middle of it was a mannequin of a little boy, maybe six or seven, dressed up in camouflage gear, a helmet, and a gas mask.   Around his waist was a bandolier of bullets.
        In the next window of the store was a grandpa all dressed up in farm clothes--bib overalls, red handkerchief tied around his neck, white hair.  He was sitting in a rocking chair, and he too, wore a gas mask.
         The store was an army surplus outlet.   It's big seller, obviously, was gas masks and a sign promoting "chemical protective suits."    In a way, the message was clear:  The two most vulnerable groups to any bio-chemical attack are the young and the old.  
         Ironically, just outside the store were military police, dressed in their official field gear, stopping trucks and inspecting them as they headed downtown.
         I thought about the impact of a nation where the prominent dress for a child was a gas mask and a chemical protective suit.  Terrorism had gone commercial.
        More importantly, I was stoutly aware of what a gas mask wouldn't do if it weren't the right one, and how much maintenance it took to keep one in a state of readiness.    I wondered how many people rushed in to buy a gas mask, hung it in their child's closet, and then sighed a deep relief that they had "protected" their loved one.    It would be a shame if they did, for a gas mask won't protect a child from terrorism.   Not the ones that were being sold.
       Terrorism obviously has two parts.  One, the protection of the physical self, and, I believe, the more important part--protecting the emotional, the psyche of the self.
       While readiness is a vital factor for any parent to consider, readiness should run far deeper than a gas mask.   The child's state-of-mind is, in some venues, is more important than gas masks or protective clothing.   If a parent were to think of defending the child's mind, his or her emotions, with emotional shields as well as physical, then I believe every one of such concerned parents would take the Pledge of Vigilance in a heartbeat.
        Similar to a gas mask or chemical protective clothing, the Principles of Vigilance ward off the terrorist's virus in the child's mind--those cruel and dark feelings that invade a child's sense of security, that make the child wonder about who is protecting him or her from the "unknown."
        Each terrorist attack, whether its next door or across the country, has some effect on a child.   Unfortunately, we can't measure the impact other than to suggest that it takes some form of fear or intimidation.   It makes the footing of the child squishy, unstable.  
        By promoting the Sentinels of Vigilance to a child, and taking Action to show the child the family is concerned with impact of terrorism on the child's mind and soul, a parent doesn't neglect the child's most important defense against terrorism--inner confidence, inner trust.
       So, if you just buy a gas mask or a protective suit for your child, remember he or she is still exposed to terrorism's inner virus.   To add to that protection, to shore it up from the inside out, not just the outside in, become a Parent of Vigilance.  Take the Pledge today!.  

Go To: "Is Complacency Terrorism's Greatest Weapon?"


©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design