Thursday... February 7, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 149
Nine Eleven Flag--NO!
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.
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.