The VigilanceVoice       

Sunday....January 27, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 137
The Glory Of An Innocent Tear

Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO--It was "Patriotic Day" at my grandson's school.   He's in kindergarten.  The school is a Catholic one in the East Village.   Discipline and education go hand in hand.
           On Friday, Jan. 25, I went with my wife and daughters to the school to watch the musical tribute given by the children to the heroes and victims of 9-11.
           They sang beautiful songs of respect for America, and thanks to a God who loved everyone.   They also sang "I think I'll go eat worms, big fat juicy, tiny squirmy ones..." to add humor and lightness to a performance of innocent celebration for those who gave their lives on September 11.
          Decked out in various degrees of red-white-and-blue, the children ranging from pre-kindergarten to the sixth grade sang as a choir, in solos, and duets delivering to the packed room of parents, grandparents, relatives and loved ones a pouring of affection, a salve of innocence that no one could mistake as anything but pure.
         Along the walls of the auditorium in which the salute was given were lined hundreds of letters and cards and drawings from children all over the country, offering their condolences, their grief to the children of my grandson's school--some of whom lost loved ones in the holocaust of September 11.
        As the patriotic pageant opened, the music director announced a fireman, parent of one of the children, and the audience rose and applauded as he sat down.    Following him, in marched members of the local fire department.  They had lost many of their people on the Second Tuesday of September.  They came in with heads high, fire-fighting uniforms on, ready to rush out if called for an emergency.  
       Next came the local police, men and women who guard the community.

  There were no awards.  No speeches.   It was the community giving tribute to the fallen, to the heroes, to their God.    The children sang songs honoring various religions, not just Christianity.   The children who sang were of all different races and creeds, some with different religious beliefs than Catholicism, but still able to attend the school, and enjoy the fruits of its educational limbs.
       When the children sang America The Beautiful, and Grand Ole Flag, my usually reserved and conservative self cracked.  Tears welled in my eyes.
        It wasn't just the songs, it was the purity and innocence of the children's delivery.   They were singing from the marrow of their beings.   They had all witnessed the horror of September 11 in their backyard--suffered through the angst, the fears, the intimidations, the complacencies and utter sense of helplessness of the unknown.  And here they were, singing like little angels, their Voices tickling the Sentinels of Vigilance to life, raising their spirits above the rubble that buried them, the smoke that choked them, the fires that scorched their bodies but stripped their souls to the bare innocence of human dignity.
         I could feel their spirits in the room, embodied in the Voices of the children.  They were proud of the generation that had witnessed their sacrifice, proud that their deaths had touched the children deeply, unifying them into one body, dissolving the differences between them as tears of sorrow are not separated by any color or race or creed.
        Africans, Asians, Caucasians, Hispanics became red, white and blue.
        Their Voices rose above any prejudices, bigotries, class or economic barriers which might have once formed false walls between them.  They were one in courage, conviction and action.
         I felt my tears fall.
         They were tears for the innocent.
         Tears of innocence know no age.

Go To Daily Diary, Jan. 26--THE BROTHERS AND SISTERS OF 9-11

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