Monday--October 7, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 390
Building The Towers Of Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York
City, October 7--I'm designing the Towers of Vigilance.
They are three superstructures, rising out of the ashes of Ground Zero.
Tower One is full of Courage.
Its square footage is brimmed with Bravery
to face all Fears--Emotional as well as Physical. Occupants of
the Tower of Courage don't bend their heads over a desk, or watch computer
monitors for the latest stock report. Instead, they stand at
the windows, searching the horizon for Terrorists--those who would
threaten the security of the children, or the children's children.
Their mortal enemy is Fear--that feeling of powerless as one waits for
Tower Two is bursting with Conviction.
Its occupants sharpen their Swords of
Vigilance and their Shields of Vigilance, always ready to march into the
face of Fear, not blinded by Terrorism's threats. The
Sentinels of Conviction know their greatest enemy is Intimidation, that
feeling they are not able to fight off the hoards of Terror that swarm
through the sea of humanity as hungry sharks in a feeding frenzy.
Tower Three is jammed full of Right Actions.
Its occupants work out every minute, keeping
their muscles of Vigilant Action ready to spring upon their mortal
enemy--Complacency. Complacency is a snake. It wraps it
coils around the innocent and chokes off their ability to stand up for
themselves and others. It makes them turn their heads from the
dark clouds looming overhead and pretend the sun is shining.
It makes them abdicate their human rights to become Sentinels of Vigilance
and turns them into slaves of Terror.
Deep in the earth is the foundation for the
Towers of Vigilance. It is the concrete of Vigilance herself,
the Mother of all Hope. Strong steel beams support her
purpose--to protect the children and children's children's children from
Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. Her
engines are fed by the Pledge of Vigilance, and the daily renewal of its
Principles of Vigilance.
I spent yesterday writing letters to the architects of
wealth in this nation, seeking their support to build the Towers of
Vigilance. Their names are household words. They
are men and women of massive financial achievement, each of whom has built
Towers of Financial Vigilance
I felt the waves of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
washing over me as I wrote each letter--led by the major thought:
"Why would they bother with me? Why would they care about what
It is easier to write a letter to God than to the
richest and most powerful men and women on earth, but, I wrote them
anyway. I asked them to help me in my struggle to build the
Towers of Vigilance. I told them there weren't any fortunes in what
they would support--no glistening gleaming pieces of gold that would fall
from the sky once the Towers were built. But, I said, there
would be something far more important--there would be more Prosperity,
more security for the children, and their children's children.
I didn't include proformas, or a cash flow
analysis, or offer stock in the Towers of Vigilance. I thought
of them laughing at my proposal, and then shook off that thought knowing
it was the Beast of Terror trying to Intimidate me, to drive me away from
seeking funds for the VigilanceVoice, seeking support to build more Swords
of Vigilance, more Shields of Vigilance to arm the world against the
armies of Terror who gather in the storm, waiting to attack the
unsuspecting, the innocent.
I went to the Park Plaza Hotel, on 5th and 59th, to
write the letters. I bought a coffee from a local deli for 50
cents and weaved my way into the Plaza, up to the ballroom where the
conference rooms are located. Quietly, I found an elegant
chair in the hallway with a coffee table near an outlet, and drafted my
letters. I used the ambience of the hotel to help me
think like the richest think--that life can be prosperous for those who
Last year following the horrors of Nine Eleven, I
had rented a room at the Plaza for a friend who had been at Ground Zero
and suffered great losses. The hotel was kind and generous in
offering an incredible room rate. Contrary to what people
think, the most elegant of hotels I have found have the most elegant of
souls. They bent over backwards to offer my friend the best
accommodations for the least possible expense.
After finishing the drafts of the letters, I met
my wife and we watched the Pulaski Day Parade, honoring General
Pulaski and the Polish
community. Thousands of marchers made their way up Fifth Avenue,
waving their red and white flags, extolling the virtues of a country that
has suffered incredible Terrorism.
"I came here where
freedom is being defended,
to serve it and to live or die for it..."
General Commander of the Cavalry 1747-1779
Poland is the doorstep to Europe.
Over the years the warriors of Russia and Germany have marched through its
viscera, trampling the nation. The Polish people reminded me
of the Sentinels of Vigilance--a society which has survived the Heels of
Terror smashing its sovereignty, and always rising back up, stronger than
I was impressed by the Polish youth, with their
faces painted red and white, and the beautiful garb of the children, and
the innocence of their sky blue eyes. If any country knew
about Terrorism, the Poles did. The Genes of Vigilance were
embossed in their marrow. The principles of Courage over Fear,
Conviction dominating Intimidation, and Right Actions displacing
evident in their cheers, their music, their costumes, and in the axes many
carried, reminding all those who tried to squash their country they would
rebuild it each time, stronger, more defiant against the Beast of Terror.
Then I went downtown to the East Village to Starbucks
to finish off my letters. I made a full swing, from the Park
Plaza to the Bowery. I enjoined the atmosphere of
Starbucks to insure my letters were from the heart and not the head, to
assure the readers my words were not gilded with a need for funding as
much as seeking their soulful commitment to the Cause of Vigilance.
reading proclamation honoring General Pulaski
When I finished, I felt good. I knew
the odds of winning their support was about equal to winning the Mega
Lottery, but that didn't matter. What mattered was I hadn't
listened to the Beast of Terror whispering in my ear: "They don't
care....you're a nobody....get a job....quit writing about Vigilance and
hack out some articles on the color of the sky...you're not worthy of
Ah, the acrid Voice of Terror. I know it so
Yesterday, it motivated me. I thought
perhaps watching the Polish Day Parade was part of my resolve to not
listen to the Voices of Terror. It was the children, not the adults,
in the procession of marchers that caught my attention. They
triumphantly shouted among themselves and to the world
"POLSKA....POLSKA.....POLSKA". They were bursting
with pride at their heritage, proud to be who they were.
And they had earned that right. Their ancestors had shed much blood
for Poland's security as a nation, for its preservation in the face of
Terror's boot heel.
At the end of the day I reread what I had written
to the most powerful people in the world. I found I had talked
about building the Towers of Vigilance. I had used a metaphor
they would understand, created three monoliths of Courage, Conviction and
Right Actions they could visualize. I had given them occupants.
And, created a mission for them. But I also had developed in
the letters something of great value--Equity.
Equity was measured by the smiling face of a
child. It was the signpost that Vigilance pays off in the long
run, for as the world embraces its role of becoming Parents and Love Ones
and Citizens of Vigilance, the world of Terror shrinks. The threats
to the globe diminish in proportion to the number of people who commit to
a "Duty of Vigilance."
I knew that my job was to draw up the Blueprints
of Vigilance, to test the waters, and then to seek the support of those
with resources far vaster than mine to carry out the construction of the
Towers of Vigilance. I knew it would be a long, hard,
exhausting haul to get the world to commit to the Pledge of Vigilance, and
to learn to live daily by the Principles of Vigilance for their children,
and their children's children's children.
I also knew, despite the Voice of the Beast of
Terror whispering in my ear that "It couldn't be done," that somewhere out
in the mass of unlimited financial support were those who understood what
I was doing, and could look back at nearly 1,000,000 words I have written
since September 11, 2001 and see the evolution of Vigilance as I have
defined it. Such observers would know that there was
Truth in what I said, and Tools of Vigilance that could only help, not
harm, the future of individuals, nations and the global community.
Even though I knew I was grasping at straws, I
knew that if I grabbed enough straws, they would form a solid column, and I could
pull myself up and fund the delivery of the VigilanceVoice in more
efficient, yet-to-be discovered ways. I also knew what I was doing
required support, teamwork, community and funding.
My fuel was Belief. While I often
doubt it in myself, I saw it in the bright, cheerful faces of the children
at the Polish parade. I saw it in the faces of children in
strollers as we made our way downtown to the East Village. I saw it
the protruding belly of a pregnant woman walking up the street, carrying
in her womb the hope that Terrorism's claws would never touch her child,
and if they did, the child would be armed with knowledge, skills and
wisdoms to shed those claws without harm.
I remembered the pregnant woman in the subway the
day after the Terrorist attack. There was just the two of us
standing on the platform. I was heading uptown to the New York Times
to deliver a story I had written, hoping they would publish it.
We talked. She was quite pregnant. She kept rubbing her
tummy as she said: "I'm glad this over. Now we can get
back to living life."
At first I wanted
to shout to her that it wasn't over. That it had just
begun. But then I looked in her eyes. She
was talking not to me, but to the child in her womb--reassuring
herself and the baby that there was Hope in the future, despite
the ashes that fell, or the acrid smell of burning bodies that
permeated the air.
"Now, we can get back to life!"
Yes, I thought as I recalled the pregnant
woman's words, "we can get back to life--to the building
of the Towers of Vigilance!"
Go To Oct 6 Story: Weiner
Dogs Of Vigilance
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