Monday--Ground Zero Plus 62
THE BATTLE TO REMEMBER VIGILANCE
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
"You mean like a bully?"
"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
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
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.
Sunday--Ground Zero Plus 61
THE SOUNDS OF F-14'S
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
Saturday--Ground Zero Plus 60
MARINE CORPS BIRTHDAY--SAND AND BLOOD
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.
Friday--Ground Zero Plus 59
GENERATION "NINE ELEVEN"
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
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
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
8, Thursday--Ground Zero Plus 58
NEW YORK CITY--CHILDREN ARMED WITH GAS MASKS
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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,
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!.
To: "Is Complacency Terrorism's Greatest Weapon?"
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