The VigilanceVoice
  Thursday... February 7, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 149

Olympic Ruling: 
Nine Eleven Flag--NO!
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City--The tattered, torn U.S. flag missing 12 stars that was rescued from the rubble of the World Trade Center disaster, can't be displayed during the parade of athletes at the opening ceremony, when competitors from 77 of the 200 nations of the world assemble to compete in Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, according to the International Olympics Committee (IOC).
       The ruling has caused Americans to rise up in anger and indignance at the alleged "insensitivity" of the Olympic committee.   The flag, buried for three days under the rubble, was the only flag flying at Ground Zero on the morning of September 11 when the terrorists attacked.   It has been flown in many ceremonies,  at the World Series, and Super Bowl as a tribute to the thousands who lost their lives on Nine Eleven.
       For many, the battle-scarred flag represents the resolve of America to withstand any attack, and, serves as a beacon highlighting the heroic unity of the United States to recover from a crippling emotional disaster to its internal security..
       However, the IOC saw the request to display the oversized flag in the parade of athletes as a break in "protocol."  All flags used in the ceremony must meet specific requirements so that no one nation doesn't dominate another and to eliminate the "politicalization" of the Olympics.  To insert an oversized additional flag would bring unequal attention to the United States, some IOC members said.
      The IOC subcommittee reviewing the request was concerned that other nations might want to display their own "symbols" commemorating tragedies in their respective national histories.  They were looking ahead to the forthcoming Olympics in Athens in 2004 and Beijing in 2008.
            A compromise was reached yesterday.   The Ground Zero Flag will be raised to the National Anthem at the Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium for the duration of the Games.   An honor guard made up of athletes, firefighters and police will present the flag during the opening ceremony.
          An estimated 3-4 billion people will view the Olympic Opening Ceremony, CNN news reported.  That's well over half of the world's 6 billion population.  
         Historically, the Olympics is about putting down the swords of war and conflict, and using friendly competition as the symbol of strength rather than "body count."      Back when the Olympics were started in Greece, all wars were supposed to stop during the Olympic Games as a symbol that there were other ways to resolve differences than through the killing and bloodletting of war.
        As a person who respects history, I agree with the IOC.   America, as my close friend from Israel told me over the phone just a day or two after September 11:  "Welcome to the real world, Cliff."
        He and his country has lived with Terrorism since its inception.   The idea that America is just recognizing its vulnerability to indiscriminate acts of insanity against its people is nothing new to the rest of the world, most of which has suffered great atrocities and horrible destruction to its people and edifices long before September 11 rocked Americans on their heels.
       I am aware that every day around the world terrible tragedies happen to thousands upon thousands of people.  The difference is, those events aren't reported on CNN News, or ABC, or CBS, or NBC as they happen.   We don't see the pain and suffering of countless innocent women and children as the daily holocausts occur throughout the five major regions of the world that the Olympic rings represent--Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
       There is a flag, however, that should be flown at the Olympics.   It is a flag that denotes no politics.  It knows no nation as its singular home.   It was born out of the blood of Terrorism and War, and, similar to the Olympics, it stands for "peaceful competition" rather than "war."  
       It is the Flag of Vigilance.
       It is black, depicting the constant threat of Terrorism to anyone, anywhere.   It has the words Semper Vigilantes above each nation's flag, and underneath the individual flag, are the words, "United, In Death and Life!"
       The message it conveys is that we, as a world, need to maintain constant vigilance against Terrorism from the outside, and Emotional Terrorism from the inside.   It symbolizes the responsibility of parents and loved ones to protect their children for unnecessary harm resulting from "fear," "intimidation," and "complacency."    It calls upon parents to replace these three Terrors with "courage," "conviction," and "action."
       If I were to lobby for one flag to be flown over all others, it would be the Flag of Vigilance.



Go To Diary--Feb. 6. You Can't Scare The Queen With Terrorism

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