Macy's Parade of Vigilance Sniffs out Terrorism
Macy's Parade is a sign of Vigilance, a symbol of peace and prosperity for the children.  Yet we are forced to have bomb sniffing dogs patrol the balloons and parade route, and to keep a watchful eye for anyone who is suspected of turning the innocent into victims.   Why?   What drives someone to let the blood of the innocent?   How can we be thankful we have Sentinels of Vigilance looking out for us?  What can we do to rid the world of Thanksgiving Terrorism?


Friday--November 29, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 443
Bomb Sniffing Dogs Protect
The Kids At Macy's Parade

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, Nov. 28 --  There's something Vigilant about the Macy's Day Parade.   It quiets the Beast of Terror, at least for a few hours.  It reminds us all the world can be a place of peace and prosperity--except for the Bomb Sniffing Dogs.   They put a crimp in the festivities.

Vigilant  Bomb-Sniffing Lab on Thanksgiving Eve

    The Terror-Hunter dogs reminded me that Terrorism was doing push ups.  I caught the dogs patrolling Charlie Brown, Big Bird, Little Bill and Mr. Monopoly on Thanksgiving Eve when my wife and I took the grandkids up to watch the inflation of the parade balloons.   The canine Vigilance Dogs were reminders that we can't take peace and prosperity for granted...that someone has to be the Vigilance Keeper...someone has to keep his or her snout to the ground, sniffing, always alert to the nefarious danger of Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
         Nothing is more poignant than Vigilance designed to protect the children.   Macy's Parade is all about the children--both the ones buried in the adults, and the ones alive and well in the children who are still wrapped in the cocoon of innocence where pigs can fly, and cows can jump over the moon and imaginary creatures can fly from 77th Street on Central Park West all the way to Herald Square.   The 77th Annual Macy's Parade was back to a more traditional role.
       Last year, following Nine Eleven, it wore a patriotic theme.  This year, it was more "traditional," eliciting the imagination of the child within.
       Charlie Brown kicked off the 14 giant helium filled balloons tethered by a football team of balloon handlers guiding Charlie down the parade route.   After being absent for 12 years, Kermit the Frog made the scene and Little Bill, the first African-American figure, made his debut.

       To help boost the festive spirit 1,000 cheerleaders danced and kicked and chanted while 500 clowns and 12 marching bands trumpeted their way past millions of heavily clothed New Yorkers sardined along the route.   Twenty-five floats cruised by, ranging from one resembling a beautiful swan to a centipede character vermiculating its way down Central Park West with Soprano star, Meadow Soprano (Jamie Lynn Sigler) riding on its head.

    It was a fun time.   I almost forgot I was a Terror Hunter.
     We got up early to go to the parade, around 5a.m.   Each Thanksgiving I meet some friends around 66th and Central Park West, a tradition I have upheld whenever I'm in New York City for the holiday.   We talk and share our gratitude for the day and year, and then go about the day, trying not to savor the blessings of life.
        At the pre-dawn of the day, there are lots of empty spaces along the parade route.    But within a few hours the streets  become a crush of human beings with their children, jockeying for prime spots to see the magic unfolding of clowns dancing down the streets, confetti being thrown in the air, marching bands from all over the country, and the magic of balloons filling the air as though gravity was suspended for all children's most imaginative characters.

Confetti fun along the parade route

       Our grandchildren were with their parents celebrating Thanksgiving morning with members of the Catholic Worker in the East Village  to prepare and serve a Thanksgiving breakfast, so my wife and I elected to capture the event with photos for the kids--an excuse for our "inner children" to revel in the joy of one of our country's most magical moments.
         Over the past year we have marched in numerous parades throughout New York City--mostly in honor and recognition of the victims of Nine Eleven.   We have marched up from Ground Zero with the families of those lost on September 11, and through Wall Street to honor the Veterans both of the military and police and fire departments.  These marches have been  tributes to the fallen, a reverence to the Sentinels of Vigilance who offered their lives so we might be remember to never forget to be Vigilant.
         Macy's parade was a respite.
         Around us little children cried out the names of their favorite characters, and some had to explain to their parents or other caretakers who they were and what they meant.   Most of the people around us had been standing for at least two hours prior to the launch of the parade.   There weren't any whines or cries from the kids as the anticipation grew and then burst into ooohhhs and ahhhhs as the balloons began floating into sight.

Snoopy Vigilance

   I thought about who was responsible for the safety of the parade.   I thought of Snoopy.   Snoopy was upstaged this year by Charlie Brown, but he was still at the heart of the parade.
        One of his brethren, a black Labrador, among other bomb sniffing dogs, had made the parade safe.   Around 15,000 (or maybe 135,000) years ago, according to a recent article in the Science section of Time Magazine, man domesticated wolves.  Dogs became man's and woman's best friends.  They learned to live together, giving one another something that linked them between the civilized and uncivilized.   Dogs proved the "Beast of the Wild" could be tamed.    Perhaps it was proof the "Beast of Terror" can be tamed.

All modern domestic dogs are descendants of the Gray Wolf

       Nevertheless, over the thousands of years of evolution, dogs have become our friends, and especially signs of protection for the children.  Snoopy guards the doghouse of moral attribution, making commentaries on what's what about the human condition.
        The bomb-sniffing dogs did the same.   There are 165,790 Labrador retrievers registered in the U.S., and one of them was sniffing for bombs around the balloons as they were being inflated and during the parade.    His job was to keep the kids safe.
        I thought of the magic of Vigilance.   If it could turn a wolf into a domesticated partner, why not a Terrorist into an eventual ally....... why couldn't a child pet Osama bin Laden without being bitten?
        I laughed at the thought, but cherished it.     
        I shot a lot of pictures.
        I saw the world through a child's eyes.

        It was full of innocence.  Snoopy was alive and well.
        There was no blood.
        There was no hate.
        There was no revenge.
        There was no jihad.
        There was no threat of mass destruction.
        It was simply beautiful.
        No snipers shot people.
        No bombs exploded.
        For a brief, Vigilant Moment the world turned its attention to the children's children's children.   The world relaxed.  Took a deep breath.  Everyone became a child again.
        Except for one.
        The bomb-sniffing dogs.
        They didn't stop sniffing.

         After all, they were the Snoopys of Vigilance.  They were protecting Charlie Brown and all his friends.
        They had taken Canine Pledge of Vigilance.

        They were, the children's Best-est Friends.





Enjoying Macy's Vigilance Parade


Nov. 28--Dancing With The Bear Of Terrorism

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