Thursday--Ground Zero Plus 65
THE DAY THE SUPER HEROES CRIED: 09-11-01
As I opened the Marvel Comic Book tribute to the heroes
of 09-11-01, I felt the impact of the tragedy and, simultaneously, the glory
of the heroism that fateful day well in me.
Comic Books, famous for its string of Super Heroes who protect the children
and the world from harm—their version of Sentinels of Vigilance—paid a
glorious tribute to all the heroic events of 09-11-01.
In the opening picture we see Captain America crying
over the loss of lives, saddened by the horrid impact the terrorists have
made upon the land, and especially the children. The picture, to
me, represented the sadness of America. Perhaps it symbolized
the Complacency we, as a great and safe nation, enjoyed in our belief we
were impregnable. Then, suddenly, that belief was shattered.
Throughout the memorial issue, pictures depict the heroism of the citizens
of America. The comic book shows how the Super Heroes were the
police and firefighters and emergency workers who risked their lives to save
the innocent victims of the worst tragedy in our history.
Tears wended their way to my eyes as I turned the pages, and realized the
Marvel Comic Book team had so elegantly and profoundly brought the message
of Vigilance to those who had eyes to see.
picture of the two young children looking out their window as they played
fireman and policewoman, stirred me.
Here were children looking at the face of Terror, suddenly unsure about the
world of security around them—feeling vulnerable, perhaps alienated by the
unknown “evil” that could reach its ugly hand across time and space and
smash the heart of America’s majesty.
there was the picture of the woman and child, sitting in the dark next to
the telephone, waiting for a call about their father and husband—who, as
a Sentinel of Vigilance—had given his life for them and others.
Who would now protect them? What impact would the insecurity
leave on the child? On the mother? I wondered.
This picture saddened me as I thought of all the
parents, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces of those who were lost
that day waiting by the phone, waiting to hear reassuring words that never
showed the destruction, the horror, the glory, the heroism. It
was one of the finest tributes to the fallen and those who saved, and tried
to save the victims, I have ever seen.
moving portrait of the fireman carrying a wounded child struck me the
hardest. It told me that
Marvel Comic Books realized the greatest scar tissue of
Terrorism is the impact on the child, and the presence of a child in the
arms of the fireman extols the need for vigilance within all our hearts and
actions. It made me realize the importance of the Parents Of
picture of the children from all countries, holding a vigil, sitting in a
circle around the candles as the Parents of Vigilance looked on, was
superbly stirring. Again, our focus in the battle for Terrorism
must be upon the children—it must be our adherence to the principle of
Semper Vigilantes—Always Vigilant—never letting up on our concern to protect
children—our legacy of life—from those “evil ones” who would rip the
entrails out of all the innocent in the name of whatever cause they sought.
as I was turning the pages, I came across the ultimate picture.
It was of Captain America standing above the rubble, looking out for the
“evil ones,” letting them know he was on guard—our Sentinel Of Vigilance.
Above the pictures are the words written by author Stan Lee:
A day there was of monumental
villainy. A day when a great nation lost its innocence and naked evil
stood revealed before a stunned and shattered world.
there was when a serpent struck a sleeping giant, a giant who will sleep no
more. Soon shall the serpent know the wrath of the mighty, the
vengeance of the just.
there was when Liberty lost her heart—and found the strength within her
Marvel Comic Books.
I salute them
for reinstating the need and power of Sentinels of Vigilance.
everyone to get a copy of this powerful tribute. Keep it as a
reminder and a tribute to remaining Semper Vigilantes—Always Vigilant—so
that the “sleeping giant” that Stan Lee wrote about will never shut its eyes
Wednesday--Ground Zero Plus 64
SMILING, SLEEPING CHILDREN FIGHTING TERRORISM
In the July 17 issue of the 1943 edition of The New Yorker Magazine,
the picture below ran as a symbol of fighting terrorism in children.
found interesting about the difference between 1943 and 2001, was that our
attention fifty-eight years later is not on the safety of a child.
The American consciousness today isn’t focused dramatically on the
In the 1943 cartoon, the artist summed up the war’s Terrorism, and the need
to fight the enemy at home, by depicting the happy child’s security being
threatened and a Sentinel of Vigilance protecting it.
In 2001 I
find the absence of this kind of theme disturbing. I hear the
President and news pundits bellowing out all kinds of “war rhetoric,” but
conspicuously absent is the primary focus of any war—protecting the children
from harm. The words may be spoken from time to time, but the focus
does not center on the children.
New Yorker magazine cover struck me, as a parent and grandparent, as
getting directly to the point. When I am asked what I think of
the war on Terrorism, I tell people: “It is right and just.”
And I’m not necessarily endorsing the bombs and bullets and mass military
funds being expended to destroy people in far away lands. I’m
specifically referring to the Terrorism that must be fought inside a child’s
mind—the terror of being neglected, of being left alone to sort out the
reasons for war.
may be easy for people to think of “war” as a response of aggression to
thwart aggression, war should have a much larger and more generational
value. If it doesn't, it cannot justify the cost it imposes on a
society and the world. To me, justifying the war on Terrorism is
justifying the need to fight terrorism in the minds of children.
Anything less is political fodder.
it is vital we recognize the war on Terrorism currently being
justified politically, militarily and economically lacks one key ingredient
for its "authority" to be maximized. The war on Terrorism must get its
true "authority" from the parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers,
sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces before it can be called “just and right
Only when we, as
parents, can see the benefit of protecting our children from the ravages of
“emotional terrorism,” not only from without, but from within, have we truly
justified the need for a “war.” Physical terrorism is not a war
that can be won. Any "crazy" with an agenda can wage such a war.
But "emotional" Terrorism can be won. We can put smiles on
sleeping children's faces in the face of the most critical and threatening
This war, however, is
not won on the battlefields of distant lands alone. Its true
battlefield rests upon teaching a child to replace fear with courage,
intimidation with conviction, and complacency with action.
These Shields of Vigilance can only be taught by example. This charges
parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nephews,
nieces and other loved ones of children with the duty and responsibility to
stand up to Terrorism on the home front.
Standing up to
Terrorism begins with recognizing what it is. It is Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency. Secondly, it means that to counter
the assault Terrorism brings upon a child, Parents of Vigilance, must
neutralize Fear, Intimidation and Complacency with Courage, Conviction and
Action. We must take a stand visible enough for a child to
recognize that as parents we are fighting the threats against the
child; we are being Semper Vigilantes—Always Vigilant-- against those
forces, both physical and emotional, which threaten a child’s welfare.
SMILING, HAPPY VISIONS
On the magazine
cover of 1943, we see the child is smiling, happy, joyous, free.
The reason he or she is happy is because the parents have helped him or her
to understand how to deal with, to not neglect fears and
intimidations. The artist, intentionally or by accident, put the
responsibility for the child’s happiness on the parents who the child in,
and told him or her that the Sentinels
of Vigilance were standing guard, and discussed with him or her how to stand up to
fear and intimidation. Peace comes only from security.
In this case, the artist crafted peace in the child’s mind, while displaying
the ravages of war above the child.
For those who might
think the cartoon is terrible because in the dream, the child is the pilot of
the plane fighting the “Evil Nazis”—think about it?. How does a child
interpret a Sentinel of Vigilance? Would he or she not want to become
one? Would he or she not want to protect his or her own children from
and anti-violence advocates--while broadcasting their stalwart stand against
war or violence--would not sit back in peace and restraint if their children
were being attacked by some evil force. They would, by any means
possible, seek to protect those children. If they didn’t, they would
violate the “prime directive” of human nature—and that is to protect the
children from harm.
The child in the dream has become his
or her own Sentinel of Vigilance. If we were to redraw the
picture, we might see the child smiling, and instead of shooting down German
planes, see the child standing
up to a bully with a smile on his or her face. Or, we might see the
while others called him or her fat, or ugly, or poor, or stupid, or laughing
at the child at his or her expense. We would see Courage, Conviction and Action replacing
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
William Staig, the
artist for the 1943 depiction of the child, stated that the child has
assumed the role of self-preservation. The fact he chose a plane to
fight the Terror of being attacked by Terror is not as relevant as the
decision the child made in his or her mind to fight his or her own demons.
In a "politically correct" world , we might see a child holding up Godzilla
in the face of bin Laden, with a caption saying: “My friend is going
to eat you if you try and harm me.”
The point is--are we, as Parents of Vigilance, thinking and
acting solely to protect the child from fear? As
Parents of Vigilance, is it in the best interests of the child
to tell the child that our government is protecting him or her?
That our Home Security Forces are in charge, and abdicate personal
protection to government? Or, should we teach
a child that Vigilance is the key to sleeping with a smile?
Facing one’s fear courageously, as this child is doing, is the
essence of battling Terrorism. Not being intimidated
is the result. And taking Action is the engine that sets
the result into motion.
you to think about how your children sleep at night. Do
they have smiles on their faces because they know their mother
and father are standing up to Terrorism in the home? Or,
do they sleep with a frown, not sure who will protect them from
Terrorism’s insidious impact?
If you truly
subscribe to being a Parent of Vigilance, your child will sleep
with a smile. And, so will you.
To November 13 --"The Cancer of Terrorism --The Chemotherapy
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