|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?
29, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 443
Bomb Sniffing Dogs Protect
The Kids At Macy's Parade
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
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.
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
Confetti fun along
the parade route
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.
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.
domestic dogs are descendants of the Gray Wolf
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
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
I shot a lot of pictures.
I saw the world through a child's
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
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
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
were, the children's Best-est Friends.
28--Dancing With The Bear
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