The VigilanceVoice
Sunday-- March 31, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 201

Happy Easter To All
Sentinels Of Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 31--Happy Easter--especially to all the Sentinels of Vigilance.
         I will keep this message short and sweet.
         I promise!
         Saturday night I went to our local church vigil.   It included the baptism of an older woman, probably in her late fifties or early sixties.
         The ceremony was in both English and Spanish, as the local Catholic Church caters to a large Hispanic congregation.
         Nativity Church is located a few blocks from our apartment in the East Village of New York City.    Members of the Church had walked en masse through the streets to commemorate Good Friday, a parade of constituents with a sound truck behind them, stopping to pray at certain selected sites.  I watched them go by my street from the window of our 5th story apartment.
          Easter Eve was the vigil.  Mildred, the woman who was being baptized, wore white.  She looked magnificent--the innocence of her soul seemed to radiate through all of her being.
          The priest dimmed all the lights and we rose and went outside the Church to light our individual candles from the Paschal Candle, a ceremony signifying the rebirth of Jesus.  Parishioners took the flame and lit one another's candles, passing the light from its sacred source onto those behind them.
          My wife and I were near the rear of the procession.   As we stepped outside the rear entrance into the cool night air, we walked in single file following the priest back into church's main door.

  Passersby on the busy street looked at us, a long line of men, women and some children, all carrying candles, signifying an ancient ceremony of honoring the resurrection of the "lost soul."
          Waiting in the line, I looked up.
          The two shafts of light spearing up from beacons at the World Trade Center, symbolic of a memorial for the slain victims of Nine Eleven, rose up through the night and were diffused against the underbelly of a cloud layer.
          I looked at the two lights, the Shafts of Vigilance, and thought for a moment about all the people who had given their lives that day as reminders to us to be Vigilant, to not let ourselves be surprised again by Terrorism or any of its countless children.
          Slowly, I raised my flickering candle up over my head, pointing it in the direction of the two shafts of light growing up from Ground Zero.  I asked my wife and daughter to salute the Sentinels of Vigilance in the same manner.
           The three of us stood for a solitary moment, our flickering candle flames bent by the light breeze as though each was bowing before the Altar of Vigilance, offering Fear, Intimidation and Complacency to be replaced by Courage, Conviction and Action.
            I thought about resurrection.   I thought about the eighty-different nations represented by those who had died that day.  I thought about the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Islamic, Atheists and Agnostics who had died that day.
            I knew they had been resurrected from their bodies upon death.  I knew their souls were there, captured in the light of the memorial, standing guard, watching, reminding all of us that they died for us, they died so we might live.
           I thought of Jesus.  I thought of his death as a symbol of Vigilance.   That his death and resurrection was not unlike those of September 11. 
           I decided to make the vigil one of Vigilance.    I decided that I would see in Mildred's baptism, the renewal of my faith and belief in the Sentinels of Vigilance, in their purpose of standing guard over Terrorism.
           When the ceremony was over, I snuffed my candle and kept it.   I decided I would light it on the 11th of each month, as a reminder that there is life after death--but during life, one must be Vigilant to remember that that Terrorism's goal was to snuff out that life with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
            My candle light would shine light on these three Beasts of Vigilance.  And in their place would stand the Shields of Vigilance--Courage, Conviction and Action.
           Happy Easter...

 Go To Mar. 30--Kiss Of Terrorism

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