100 years ago an 11-year-old boy created the ability for the world to communicate without wires.    He used his imagination to revolutionize the way people talk to one another.  But he didn't do it easily.  Fear, Intimidation and Complacency stalked him as he fought to make his dream of wireless communication a reality.   Today, as the world sits on the brink of two wars, his art of communication serves as a solution to war.  It also serves as a template for Parents of Vigilance to better communicate with their children so the Beast of Terror has little room to roam.


Tuesday--January 14, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 489
Sending An SOS
For Vigilance--
The Titanic Of Terrorism

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Jan. 14--A young boy who wasn't Terrorized by his lack of education or fearful of making mistakes is credited for saving 705 lives the night the Titanic sank.  It was April 14, 1912 when the Titanic struck the iceberg that sent the "unsinkable ship" to the bottom of the sea.   Up in the communications room, the Titanic radioman furiously pounded out Morse Code that read: "CQD require assistance position 41.46 N 50.14 W struck iceberg Titanic."

Lifeboat from rescue ship Carpathia

        At the time, CQ meant "All stations stand by."  The letter "D" meant a distress signal was to follow.  (Following the Titanic's sinking, the distress signal would change to "SOS" meaning "Save Our Ship.")
        The radio operator on the passenger ship Carpathia, 58 miles away, was about to shut down. Before he did, though, he wired the Titanic that the wireless station on Cape Cod was trying to contact the ship. The Titanic replied with its CQD call, and the Carpathia immediately headed for the scene. It arrived at 4:15 a.m. to find 16 lifeboats and four rafts holding 705 passengers. The Titanic had sunk two hours before.

Morse Code sounder

        The survivors of the Titanic, as well as millions of people today who use cell phones to communicate, owe the ability to communicate through wireless devices to a young boy who didn't graduate from college and was constantly being chided by his teachers for being a "troublemaker."
         He was half Italian and half Irish, and while not a conventional student, had a penchant for science plus a vivid imagination to foresee what was possible in the face of the impossible.
        In 1885 he sent his brother, Alfonso, out of sight and tried to transmit a wireless message to him that even Thomas Edison said was impossible--a wireless message.  His brother was instructed to fire a gun if he heard the message, which happened to be the letter "S."   Alfonso heard the "S" and the shot he fired is still being heard around the world and far into space.  Radio waves were transmittable.  A century later, the famed Verizon television commercial barks out the echo of Alfonso's shot, "Can You Hear Me Now?"   The commercial symbolizes not only the modern world's ability to transmit messages wirelessly anywhere in the world, but also reminds us all of the vital importance of the  global community to communicate in hopes information will  destroy the barriers that separate cultures and form divisions of derisions that lead to war.
        The young boy who launched the great wireless revolution at age 11  was Guglielmo Marconi.


      On Jan. 18, 1903, Marconi sent the world's first wireless two-way message across the Atlantic. This historic exchange between a president and a king (America's Theodore Roosevelt and Britain's Edward VII) instantly bridged the 3,000 miles from Cape Cod, Mass., to Poldu Station in Cornwall, England.  It also paved the way for civilization to communicate in virtual instant time, without the need for wires to connect speaker to speaker.

Marconi and his assistants launching the kite-supported 
        aerial at Signal Hill, December 1901

Marconi and assistants launched a kite-supported aerial at Signal Hill, St. John's, Newfoundland, December 1901

      This Saturday will mark the 100th anniversary of the historic broadcast made between Teddy Roosevelt and King Edward VII. 
          It will also underscore the power of Vigilance of a young boy who would not be Intimidated by his lack of education. Marconi didn't cower in Fear that he might make a mistake on his quest to improve the way the world communicated, neither did he fall into a Complacent quagmire when his peers told him he was on a foolish journey and should stop his "experimenting."
        Marconi, according to his youngest daughter, Princess Elettra  saw wireless communication not only as an advanced method of communication but also as a Tool of Vigilance.  Even though he failed entrance exams for the Italian Naval Academy and University of Bologna, his dogged determination and support and encouragement from his parents kept him focused on his dream of communicating electric waves through the air.
       Marconi stood strong against the winds of dissent.  He sought support from scientific community who scoffed at him.  Undaunted, he presented his invention to the Italian government for funding but was turned down.   At 21, he started his own company and kept seeking support despite constant rejection.  Four years after the Italian government turned him down,  Britain was interested and helped fund his research after he demonstrated his ability to broadcast radio waves from the top of a General Post Office building

Marconi visitor centre in Poldhu,Cornwall

        His Vigilant goal, according to his daughter, Princess Elettra, was to end war.  "He hoped the different countries around the world would communicate together to avoid war," Princess Elettra says. "He thought that if people could communicate, they could explain their thoughts and understand each other better."

Princess Elettra, Marconi's daughter

          In reviewing Marconi's achievements, I was impressed by his Vision of Vigilance.   While conquering the Beast of Terror's attempts to drive him away from his experiments with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, Marconi stood above the Beast's frothings, in part, because of his vision to the future which included this question:  "What if his invention could decrease war, end it, through communication?"
        Marconi was an idealist.  His lack of formal scientific education  was his greatest asset.  He did not fall supine in discipleship with Thomas Edison and the Italian government who refuted his theory and work.   To him, it was a matter of simple logic.
        "My chief thought," he said, "was that the idea was so elementary, so simple in logic, that it seemed difficult to believe no one else had thought of putting it into practice.  From the first, the idea was so real to me that I did not realize that to others the theory might appear quite fantastic."


The 2001 Marconi Commemorative Coin

         When I was reviewing the history of Marconi, I thought about the message he transmitted to his brother Alfonso that proved the ability for wireless communication.   It was the letter "S."  
         Part of me wants to believe the Sentinels of Vigilance stood at his side that day, whispering in Marconi's 11-year-old ear, "Courage, Conviction, Right Actions....Courage, Conviction, Right Actions...Keep going...achieve your goal for the Children's Children's Children....Don't give up...Don't let the Beast of Terror's Fear, Intimidation or Complacency stop you...Don't let anyone or anything stand in the way of bridging the gap between ignorance and knowledge...Courage, Conviction, Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children..."
         There may be many reasons why Marconi validated sending radio waves by using the letter "S,"  But for me, in the 21st Century, it stands for "Sentinel," the short form for Sentinel of Vigilance.  In Morse Code, S-O-V represent the initials for Sentinel of Vigilance.  Over Marconi's wireless it would sound like: 
di-di-di   dah-dah   di-di-di-dah. 

          If you listen to the beat of a child's heart, you can hear it over and over:  di-di-di   dah-dah  di-di-di-dah...di-di-di   dah-dah  di-di-di-dah...di-di-di   dah-dah  di-di-di-dah....di-di-di   dah-dah  di-di-di-dah....
        Today, modern society faces the same challenges Marconi's world did 100 years ago.  How do we communicate Vigilance over Terrorism?  How do we negotiate Peace rather than effect War?
        The crisis in both Iraq and North Korea is coming down to the negotiating table.   Communication between separate and divided nations is being played out to the legacy of Marconi's dream.   Thousands of people are using wireless communication in a scrambling attempt to resolve differences through words rather than bullets and blood.  Hopefully, what Marconi sought--resolutions through communications--will serve to keep us from spilling the blood of the innocent, the vulnerable.
        But Marconi's legacy for peace ran deeper than just finding resolutions to war.  The marrow of his legacy was about how parents and loved ones can protect children from becoming prey for Beast of Terror.
        Even though his father was reticent about his son's experiments that shattered dishes and often involved the young boy climbing onto the roof to duplicate Ben Franklin's experiment of attracting lightening to harness energy, the Marconis stood by their son's dreams.   They became Parents of Vigilance.
        His mother especially is credited with supporting him.  She traveled with him to England and helped promote his dreams and ideas.
        It would have been easy for his family to demand his attention in school, to force him to conform to the "average."  They could have scoffed at his dreams and become Complacent about his belief he was inventing a tool that, among other things, would help the world stop war by using words rather weapons to resolve differences.
       Marconi's parents listened to the boy's heart.  They slept with his dreams, and embraced his imagination.  
        I can only assume that when the 11-year-old boy met with challenges and problems, that his parents stood up for him, encouraging him to overcome the Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies that stood in his path.

     Today, in a madding world where everyone is busy trying to keep their "heads above water," there is often a harried overlooking of a child's inner dreams.   Unless we stop and sit and listen to what is going on inside the child, we never know what magic or horror is brewing within it.    Dreams and nightmares go hand-in-hand, and a child has both.  If the dreams are suffocated, ignored, not fertilized, then the nightmares grow like weeds and choke off the dreams, leaving barren the mind that once thrived.

      A Parent of Vigilance takes a vow to attend to his or her child's dreams.  Her or she becomes the gardener, protecting the child's rich soul soil from being laid to waste by Fear and Intimidation, and then dried and parched through Complacency that the child can't truly "make a difference."
       Instead of making their child's mind an afterthought, the Marconi's listened to their son, nurtured his imagination, feed his dreams with Courage, Conviction and right Actions.
       Modern Parents of Vigilance can take a lesson from the Marconi's.  Instead of attending to a child's thoughts and dreams when he or she "has time," a Parent of Vigilance vows to "make time" to listen .  Communication with the heart of the child, its hopes and dreams, supercede paying the mortgage, or impressing the boss, or getting the promotion, or the favorite television program, or the stack of bills on the table, or the telephone conversation with a friend.
      We often make a mistaken assumption that our "love" for a child is transmitted by our mere presence, or assume because the child has clothes, or food on the table, or that we teach him or her manners, or give gifts to him or her on birthdays or holidays that these external provisions somehow establish internal "wireless communication.".    A child views love in a far different way.  A child views love as Marconi intended it, through "wireless communication."  The child measures how a parent touches its heart, not how it dresses it.

      Wireless love is transmitted to a child when a parent sits with the child and reaches inside the secrets of the child's self to hold and cherish the child's dreams, when the parent shows love and respect for the child's desires to succeed in spite of the Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies that tend to tug and pull and pull the child into a quagmire of "impossibilities."
      Marconi's parents encouraged their son's dreams despite his problems in school.   They opened the doors to his imagination, his dreams by oiling the hinges of his inner self, helping him feel safe to share with them how he was going to do things that the most famous and respected scientists in the world said could not be done.

      As human beings, we often gloss over our lives, believing that the more we "provide" for our children, the more love we give them by default.  Our provisions often are "outside provisions," offering external warmth and comfort.   We don't get into the "wireless communication," where we crawl inside their dreams, fertilize their imagination, and fire their ambitions.
      If we were to take a page from Marconi's book, we would sit quietly with our children and say in a soft Voice, "Can I hear you now?  Can I hear you now?"
      We would not be so interested in speaking to them as we would listening to them.

     We would telegraph to our children the messages of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.  We would support their dreams and help them harness their nightmares.  
      We would teach them these messages in Morse Code, so that they could broadcast them whenever the Beast of Terror attacked them and made them think we, the parents and guardians didn't love them enough, or that they weren't worthy enough, pretty enough, smart enough, fortunate enough.
      Here are the codes we would teach them:

1.  -.-.   ---   ..-   .-.   .-   --.   .

2 -.-.   ---   -.   ...-   ..   -.-.   -   ..   ---   -.

3 .-.   ..   --.   ....   -   
  .-  -.-.   -   ..   ---   -.   ---

 The three words spell out:

. C
-.-. O --- U ..- R .-. A .- G --. E .
 C -.-.  O ---  N -.  V ...- I ..  C -.-.  T -  I ..  O ---  N -.
.-. I .. G --.  H .... T-    A .-  C -.-.  T -  I .. O ---  N -.  S ---

   Plus, there is a final message Marconi left us.  In Morse Code it is:
...   ---   ...-
It is a message used by a child to call for help when the Beast of Terror approaches. 
       It is a message used by adults to remind them to stand tall the face of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. 
       It means S.O.V...Morse Code for calling upon the Sentinels Of Vigilance.
       You can become Vigilant today.
       Just take the Pledge of Vigilance below.
       Be a Marconi for your children, and the Children's Children's Children.

 Be A  ...   ---   ...- !

12 Wireless Communication Tips For Parents To Children
(Note:  A wireless communication to a child involves Actions not Words, it comes from the heart
 and is a sincere effort to unify the insides of the Parent with the insides of the Child)

1.  Sit with your child, quietly.
2.  Hold your child in your lap, quietly.
3.  Kneel down when you talk to your child or listen, so you are eye-level.
4.  Take your child out for a walk, just the two of you, being together as one, for no other reason than being together.
5.  Tell your child about your own Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies.  A child will share with you when he or she feels safe, and knows you are as vulnerable as he or she to the Beast of Terror.
6.  Laugh with your child.   Ask your child to tell you a funny story.    Humor cuts through Terror like butter.
7.  Play games with your child--imagination games.   Show your child the power of your imagination with his or hers.
8.  Ask your child his or her dreams and promote them, encourage them.  Children's dreams change, but when they dream, be the person holding the ladder, helping the child climb up the rungs of belief.
9.  Tell your child the story of the Beast of Terror, how he tries to trick you into thinking you're not as good as, not as rich as, not as happy as.  Then tell your child about the Sentinels of Vigilance, and how they are standing ready to help any time the Beast of Terror creeps into your child's mind, and how they use Courage, Conviction and Right Actions to shine light in the darkness.
10.  Look in your child's eyes.  Teach your child to look deep within his or her inner self, to not be afraid of what he or she sees by serving as a role model.
11.  Stand in front of a mirror with your child and have you child tell you what he or she likes about himself or herself, and you do the same.   Let the child see the beauty of the reflection you see, and avoid letting the Beast of Terror create an image the child doesn't want to see, that makes the child feel "less than" or "better than" others;  instead, guide the child to seek dreams and opportunity that no one can deny.
12. Don't tell your child you love him or her, show the child your love.   Hug them first thing in the morning, and hug them just before they go to bed.   Hug them many times during the day.   Let your child see in your eyes and your actions that love is not lip service, but a matter of action, of true wireless communication.

        Jan. 13 -- Mickey Mouse & Thomas Crapper--Keys To Beating Terrorism

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