Monday--October 7
, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 390
Building The Towers Of Vigilance

Cliff McKenzie
   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 impending doom.

       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 I'm doing?"
        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 seek it.
      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..."

U.S. Brigadier 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 before.
      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 Complacency were 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.

Governor Pataki 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're a nobody....get a job....quit writing about Vigilance and hack out some articles on the color of the're not worthy of their attention..."
     Ah, the acrid Voice of Terror.   I know it so well.  

     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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