Dec 7--WTC
       The Vigilance Voice 

Dec. 7--Friday--Ground Zero Plus 87
Let's Not Shut The Eye Of Vigilance Ever Again

       December 7, 1941.   I wasn't to be born until the coming May--May 7th to be exact.  Six months to the date.  A half a Year
        The 2,403 who died in the Terrorist attack against our military in Pearl Harbor and at other military targets in Hawaii represented half of those killed in the September 11 assault on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the thwarted plane en route to the White House.

Over the years, we let the memory of Pearl Harbor fade into a faint shadow--a grimacing reminder of the "terrible" nature of a war we wanted to forget for fear of offending our Japanese economic allies.  To salute Pearl Harbor became, over the past decade, an insult to Americanism--the new Americanism where we whitewashed our text books and assumed guilt and shame rather than pride and glory from the days of our "imperialism."  Sometimes, I wondered if we had been the one to produce a sneak attack.   History twisted the message of "vigilance" into a state of "complacency."   "Butter not bombs" became the hue and cry.

       In Vietnam, I volunteered for every ambush possible.   It made sense to be the "attacker" rather than the "attackee."  In enemy territory I would rather be on an ambush than be ambushed.   I lived with one eye open all the time.
      Now, September 11 is a reminder to everyone never to close the other eye.  Over the years we have tried to deal with Terrorism with pacts and agreements and photo opportunities in the Rose Garden or at Camp David where opposing factions shook hands and scrawled meaningless words on paper to boost the polls.

    Terrorism used magic ink when it signed anything.  For the moment the ink dried, the signatures disappeared--poof--into the air.
          But worse than the government trying to mend everyone else's fences, was our own demise as a patriotic country.
          Patriotism to me is not flag waving.  It is children protection.
          Patriotism is about protecting the rights of children to be safe, and free, and bountiful.  It's not about gaining "political correctness," or trying to "reinvent history."
         History has two parts.  The Good.   And, The Bad.    The Right.  And The Wrong.  Those who would try and steal the freedom of a people, or endanger the children of a

Truman Created Poster For Kids

 country, or put their own selfish goals ahead of that of future generations--is a terrorist--not a patriot.
        In Waco, Texas, the adults had a right to choose to die.  But they had no right to chose for their children to be put in harm's way.   In America we have individual rights, but they do not supercede the collective rights.   When the "clear and present danger" looms, individual must sacrifice their selfishness for selflessness.
        The only way to achieve that goal is to stop and think about what is right for the children.   If patriotism is sneered upon by our society as being something "bad" because we have a strong military, or an aggressive attitude toward preserving freedom around the world, then those who sneer must step back and look at the future of their children if the doors to their homes are left unlocked, if the children are allowed to walk home unescorted from school, if we turn our backs on those who abuse children, or threaten their future emotional or physical welfare.
        Patriotism is not about bragging how many people we killed, or how many countries we have conquered, or how many wars we have won.  Patriotism is about instilling freedom where tyranny once roamed free.
       Both in Europe through the Marshall Plan, and in Japan after the war, we poured money, resources and technology into those defeated nations and boosted their ability to grow and become rich, healthy countries interconnected by trade and economic power.  We did not "conquer" anyone.  We set many free.
       Yet that which made us great got lost over the past sixty years.
       What made us great was an old flag we once used in this country that was emblazed with the words:  "Don't Tread On Me."    Another was the words of Teddy Roosevelt who said:  "Walk softly and carry a big stick."

       Both sayings symbolized vigilance.
       Patriotism is "vigilance."
       It is the a priori knowledge that there are "good" and "bad" in the world.  And, if you don't police the "bad" it will consume the "good."   That's all it's about.
       The events of September 11 shocked us into remembering we are vulnerable.   It destroyed our complacency.   It made us sit up and open the other eye we had closed.

        For the children's sake, let's not go to sleep again.   Let's say the words, "Semper Vigilantes"--Always Vigilant.    And mean them this time.


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