Yesterday, a battle was fought for Times Square between two old men
and hundreds of protestors. Guess who won!
20, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 554
For Times Square
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 20-- In the middle of Times Square is
a small piece of real estate, shaped like a piece of apple pie.
It is wedged between towering neon signs that awe visitors with their
technological magnificence, and the prime real estate where millions
watch the New Year's Ball drop each year to usher in the dawn of a new
Last night it was the scene of a
great battle between two Sentinels of Vigilance and hundreds of
Battle site for Sentinels of Vigilance and anti-war Terrorists
went to Union Square for the noon anti-war rally yesterday, and
followed it by attending the 5 p.m. rally in Times Square.
My mission was to record, listen and report the purity of freedom--the
right of people to offer their dissent in accordance with the precious
qualities of the U.S. Constitution's Right Of Free Speech Amendment.
I can assure my readers it was difficult to hear the tirades issued by
the speakers against America. Fortunately, the crowd was
small, nearly a third of it being news media personnel armed with
television, radio and photo equipment.
But the invectives flowing from the
lips of the protest organizers were as deadly as Sarin or VX gas.
It's intent was to poison America's values in the minds of the young
people who formed the bulk of demonstrators, not to dissent war.
War was not the issue. Instead,
what came across from the bullhorns of the anti-war organizers was an
indictment of the evil intent of America to rape, pillage and plunder
not just a foreign land, but its own people.
Charges were levied at President George Bush as the corrupt evil head
of state who is waging war for oil.
flew from lips of protestors and on signs they carried
Signs stating a "rapist in a uniform is still a rapist" implied that
Americans were bent on raping the land and the people.
The speakers railed on that America was launching a racial war against
our own people, specifically against the black soldiers whom, they
claimed, were uneducated members of the armed services and being used
as human sacrifices by the white military leaders.
Even Saddam Hussein could not
have eviscerated America more deftly than did the Voices of dissent
echoing across Union and Times Square.
The speakers paraded before the
people surrounding them a bevy of high school students who had skipped
school to protest the war. One by one, the boys and girls
were given the microphone to sink their fangs into the Administration,
and to announce their sophomoric statements of how evil America was.
leader, Mary, spewed venom at America
It was certainly hyperbole at its worst. The vitriolic
nature of the dissent served to alienate many because the woman
dissent leader, named Mary, constantly spewed foul language, using the
"F" word constantly in her attacks. Her language demeaned her
message, for the adjective was tossed about as one might use the
conjunctive "and" or the word "the."
I gritted my teeth and tried to remain as
neutral as possible as I weaved in and out of the crowd, snapping as
many pictures as possible to capture the event.
I was reluctant to go to Times Square and
experience the same diatribe. But I figured it would be
unfair to just report on one event. After all, this was
the eve of war, a new kind of war. It marks a new era in
American history where the United States is employing "anticipatory
self-defense," commonly called pre-emptive attacks, on tyrants who
threaten the security of the world.
Times Square was a refreshing but discouraging sight. On
that piece of triangular concrete, serving as a "Y" that splits
downtown traffic to either Broadway or Seventh Avenue, with Toys 'R Us
beaming its five-story signs to attract children from all parts of the
world, stood two factions.
protestors en masse were in stark contrast to........
first, clustered at the tip of the pie, was a mass of protestors.
They were mostly young people with anti-war stickers plastered on
their clothing and over their mouths, bearing signs of dissent
against the war. They chanted at the thousands of cars,
taxis and trucks inching their way downtown in the bumper-to-bumper
New York rush-hour crush.
lonely Times Square Sentinels of Vigilance
Next to them was another barricaded area. It contained two
demonstrators. One is a man named "Freddy," an icon in New
York. Freddy attends every major event in the city,
running races, parades, and war demonstrations. Freddy
carried a sign in support of the troops, and banged on a pan with a
spoon. His wrinkled face etched with the lines of time and a
signal of having been through many wars, beamed as he gave the thumbs
up sign whenever a camera spotted him.
'thumbs up' Freddie
He was joined by another weathered man with a grim face carrying an
American Flag over his shoulder and dressed in firefighter gear.
He also carried a sign supporting the troops and America, a
counterbalance to the deluge of anti-war messages and insults being
hurled by the youthful protestors.
seen the retired fireman many times over the past year and a half.
He led the civilians marching at the Ground Zero memorial last May.
He lost a son on Nine Eleven, and dug through the rubble for days in
search of survivors. His face was constrained, showing no
emotion. I thought of how powerful his resolve must be to be a
one of the lone Voices amidst the cacophony of hate for America being
broadcast by the dissenters.
Eventually, one other person joined Freddy
and fireman. He held a sign that said, "I Love G. Bush."
I worked my way down Broadway to where the
group from Union Square had their bullhorns blasting. The
woman, Mary, was stripping the flesh of America's values, spitting
venom at America's moral foundations, stomping and slashing at them
with the same passion Saddam and all his children might.
I listened to her and her words fell
harmless on my ears.
Freddy and the Fireman of Vigilance had
said not a word. They just marched in great circle around
the slice of concrete in Times Square. They appeared naked
at first, for they were only two compared with a few hundred
protestors. But as I watched the two older men, veterans of many
wars of human life, their faces scared with the pain that living
brings, there was a strength far more powerful than any of the words
Mary or her cohort tried to drown the youthful audience with.
Vengeance (speaker Mary) spoke as though she could right America's
wrongs and conveniently forgot Saddam's atrocities
I thought of David and Goliath. In their silence, in their
posture of Vigilance, the two older men made a statement that
surpassed all the caustic comments hailing upon the ears of the young
people who mashed close to Mary, as though she were some Angel of
Vengeance, and they were set to avenge the wrongs of a nation so ill
managed that it sought to rape, pillage and plunder an "innocent
In keeping with Mary's
one-sidedness, she didn't mention the crimes against humanity that
Saddam is infamously known for, that he gassed thousands of innocent
Kurds, or killed his grandchildren's fathers and dragged their bodies
through Baghdad, or stuffed any dissenters in prison and tortured them
or raped their wives or mothers in their presence, or attacked Kuwait,
or defied the U.N. and the world by not disarming. No, there was
no balance of thought, not ounce of fairness in her attacks.
Freddy and the Fireman of Vigilance,
however, said nothing.
They didn't have to.
All who saw the two men marching
alone in an empty pen of concrete, buttressed against a mass of
protestors screaming and laughing and cheering and jeering America,
formed their own opinion.
I felt proud that two opposing forces
could stand for such diversity on such a critical issue, and the
passersby acknowledged their right to do so. The
hallmark of American liberty, the kind of liberty America hopes to
install in Iraq, is the right of peaceful protest.
visible support for Freddie and the Fireman was a lone young man
braving the masses
It is the right for a radical like Mary to splutter out a litany of
hate and misinformation, and for a couple of guys like Freddy and the
Fireman of Vigilance to counter such comments with their own silent
protest, diametrically opposed.
As I made my way downtown toward the
East Village where I live, I could hear the Sentinels of Vigilance
above Ground Zero singing.
They were cheering the right of dissent, no
matter how much they might be disgusted by its nature, that right is
worth all the blood that will be spent as America removes tyranny and
installs a democracy.
earned the right to fight and die for freedom
The question of moral authority is moot to that point.
For were all the Parents of Vigilance asked if they would fight to the
death to protect their children from those who would throw their
children in prison, or torture them if they disagreed with a certain
point of view, it is more than likely the vast majority would consider
their children's rights to speak freely, live freely, and offer their
children that same freedom, worth dying for.
Freddy and the Fireman of Vigilance were marching not for war, but for
the right Americans have to die for freedom, even if that freedom is
for children in a foreign land.
Mar. 19--What Warriors Pray To Before
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