-- April 4, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 205
The Birthdays Of Terrorism & Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, April 4--History offers us
start dates for Terrorism. They are called birthdays.
Two of those start
dates are approaching. One is April 20th, the other July
28 or 30th.
Each date represents
the birthday of two of modern civilization's most notorious
Terrorists--Adolph Hitler and Osama bin Laden.
led a war of genocide and frenetic madness to dominate the world,
was born on April 20th, 1889. If he were alive today,
he would be approaching his 113th birthday.
The other is
Osama bin Laden. His birthday is more elusive than
Hitlers, for he claims to be born on 1377 hegira time.
The word "hegira" is derived from the Arabic word
"to emigrate." It refers to Muhammad's
journey from Mecca to Yatrib on July 16, 622 A.D. The
date marks the beginning of the Muslim community and 622 is
considered the first year in the Muslim calendar. Ramadan,
a holy month, is celebrated in July in honor of Muhammad's flight
from Mecca to Yatrib which is known today as Medina.
Bin Laden was
born in 1957 but the exact date has been muddied. Estimates
based on his use of "hegira" time put his birthday
somewhere between July 28 and July 30. If these are accurate
dates, he will be coming into his 44th birthday--that is, if
he is still alive.
Both Hitler and bin
Laden sought to Terrorize the world.
While Hitler was driven by a madness for political and military
power, Osama bin Laden is driven to achieve the same goals under
the guise of a radical religious belief that includes the destruction
of all "infidels."
I am sensitive to
birthdays because I have one approaching on May 7.
Mine seem to loom up like a runaway locomotive. On each
of my birthdays, I take stock of my life to see where I stand
in relation to the time I've been on earth, and what I've done
or not done to make my presence here worth the journey.
Sometimes it is necessary
to look at others to get a good benchmark of your own life.
Terrorism, and the battle to keep it at bay, is a major part
of what I am today. That brings into the spotlight both
Hitler and bin Laden, my two choices for Terrorists Of The Millennium.
Vigilance has a birthday
also. It is September 11, 2001. It was born
at exactly 8:46 a.m., the time when the first Terrorist plane
smashed into the World Trade Center.
From the ashes of that
horrible day was born the Sentinels of Vigilance--the spirits
of all the innocent victims of the tragedy who have formed a
single body to unite America and the world against Terrorism.
The spirits of those
"victims" of the tragedy remain hovering over the
World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the farmer's field in
Pennsylvania where Todd Beamer led a charge against the Terrorists
commanding Flight 93 en route to bomb the White House.
Unlike other memorials
of victims, the Sentinels of Vigilance have given birth to a
new way of life. Their sacrifice becomes a
lesson that each parent or loved one of children can embrace,
regardless of political, social, economic, religious beliefs
That lesson is to
protect a child from Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
by instilling in the child Courage, Conviction and Action on
a daily basis. The tool to achieve this goal is the Pledge
of Vigilance--a vow taken on an ecumenical basis to dedicate
ones self against Terrorism's destructive forces both on a physical
and emotional level.
To give such a pledge value
requires we never forget that Terrorism is born each day in
man different forms. It so happens that two of those
forms--Hitler and Osama bin Laden--are highly visible to all.
Their acts of destruction survive their lives.
Their birthdays symbolize
the start of an era. Their deaths represent the memory
that must not be forgotten.
But their births are not
On April 8, the birth of Buddha
will be celebrated. There is some debate at to the
exact year of his birth, but it is estimated to be between 563-483
B.C. He is at least 2,500 years old.
Like the great religious leaders, he sought to bring peace and
harmony to the world. He was a Sentinel of Vigilance.
Mohammed, the founder of
Islam, did not promote violence. He sought the equality
of people, as did Buddha. His birthday in June will
be twisted by some to suggest the righteousness of "killing
others" to preserve the purity of Islam. But
he would abhor such actions.
Jesus Christ was born in December,
2002 years ago. His mission was not unlike Mohammed's
or Buddha's. He too sought to bring peace
and harmony to the world, casting
light where shadows once kept the souls of the living and dead
In examining birthdays, I find
the most valuable to me is the knowledge that "good"
and "evil" exist, almost within the same breath.
Hitler and bin Laden were born
in and around the birthdates of Buddha and Mohammed.
There are even those scholars who believe Jesus was born in
the summer and not in December.
As Terrorism exists within us
all--or, at least its elements of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--so
do the elements of Vigilance exist alongside those of Terrorism--Courage,
Conviction and Action.
Vigilance is about recognizing
the existence of forces within us that attempt to turn our joys
and happiness into sadness and and suffering.
Buddha taught people how find
enlightenment through the Four Noble Truths: 1.) All forms
of existence are subject to suffering, 2.) Suffering and rebirth
are produced by desire, 3.) The end of suffering comes with
the end of desire, 4.) The end of desire is reached by following
the Noble Eight-Fold Path: right beliefs, right aims, right
conduct, right effort, right speech, right occupation, right
thinking, and right concentration. His point was people
should strive for wisdom and morality through meditation.
Jesus brought a similar message--"to
turn the other cheek." His message was of kindness
and charity to all, that we should learn to forgive others as
we are forgiven.
Mohammed sought to end the suffering
of the many by teaching equality of the soul. His
enlightenment included a visit from the angel Gabriel who inspired
him to write the Koran.
All these great leaders of religious
belief sought harmony in a world of chaos. Many
of their followers have twisted their messages to fit their
own agendas, including the Crusades in which Christianity sought
to dominate the world with its point of view.
among those who are elevated to the highest vistas of human
adulation, I propose that the Sentinels of Vigilance, born September
9, 2001, should also be included in the Spirit Hall Fame.
It is their birthday also that
shines the Light Of Vigilance on the Terroristic Shadows of
Terrorism cast by Hitler's and bin Laden's birthdays.
To April 3--Message In A Bottle--Vigilance is Alive And Well
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