|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.
14, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 489
Sending An SOS
The Titanic Of Terrorism
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."
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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."
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,
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."
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:
listen to the beat of a child's heart, you can hear it over and over:
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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:
--- ..- .-. .- --.
-. ...- .. -.-. -
.. --- -.
--. .... -
.- -.-. - .. --- -.
The three words spell out:
R .-. A .-
G --. H ....
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.
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,
2. Hold your child in your
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.