-- June 18, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 279
Waiting For The Birth Of Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
ZERO, New York City, June 18--I spent the day yesterday with the Womb
Of Vigilance. I was hoping it would give birth to the Child Of
I have helped deliver four babies in my life--two in Vietnam, and two of
my own here in the United States. There is nothing more
powerful than watching a child enter the world.
In Vietnam I kept in close contact
with our U.S. Navy Corpsmen. They were my "heroes." Like the
firemen, police and emergency workers who rushed into the burning
buildings at the risk of their lives to save others, Corpsmen attached to
the Marine Corps would crawl out in a hail of bullets or mortars and
attend the wounded or drag them back to safety. There aren't
enough words in the world to pay tribute to their quiet heroism.
In the village next to our battalion
headquarters, located on the perimeter of Chu Lai, a woman was
having a baby. I went along with the corpsmen to witness the event.
I wanted to see birth in the midst of war, to experience the presence of
Life in a world ravaged by Death. The young Vietnamese woman
who was in
labor was lying on a bamboo bed inside a dirt-floored hut. She had long, raven-black hair
and wore the black pajamas of a peasant. As the contractions
mounted, she would ball a handful of her hair in her fist and bite down on it as she pushed.
Sweat dripped from her forehead. She took one final ball of hair in
her hand and clamped her jaws down as the baby was born.
Within a few hours she was back at work in the rice fields, the
new child strapped on her back as she worked.
Deep in enemy territory on patrol near the
end of my tour of duty, I witnessed another similar birth. In this
village, the Viet Cong had painted pictures of American tanks running over
children and old people on the walls of the village school. I often wonder about those children,
hoping they survived the war and the horrors of it that cost their country
1.5 million deaths.
Yesterday, I thought of those "children of
war" as I walked around New York City with my very pregnant daughter.
She is expecting any day. I elected to walk with her to Lower
Manhattan from her East Village apartment to acquire copies of her other
two children's birth certificates at the courthouse on Centre Street. My
wife volunteered to watch her two children, Matt, 6 and Sarah, 4.
We talked a lot about children and life as
we dodged the herds of people swarming up and down Broadway and Canal
Street. We waited in a thick line of people in the courthouse to
request the records, most of whom were speaking in accents. Then we
"waddled" toward Mulberry Street, the heart of Little Italy.
We found an restaurant with an air conditioned solarium and ate bread and
pasta and talked about parenthood..
Mostly, we talked about the joy of children
and how life was about teaching a child how to have a purpose in life.
It was my "quiet time" with my daughter, reverent moments when we were
"just together" nearing the eve of a wondrous event.
I thought of how my daughter's third child,
now resting quietly
in her womb, is a special child--historically special--as are thousands of
children about to be born over the next few months. She and her
husband conceived the child immediately after September 11th, creating a "Child of Vigilance," one of many
sparked to life following the horror of the Terrorist attacks.
Later in the day, I gently placed my hand
on my daughter's belly, and had my wife and our younger daughter join me.
We felt the stirring of the Child of Vigilance.
We were touching the "Seed of Vigilance," ready to sprout through the
crust of the earth and begin its fruition above the
surface, struggling as all sprouts of life for the sun's warming rays,
bound and determined to find its place among
the harmony of nature despite the many obstacles that stand in its path.
Touching her belly made me think that the deaths of so many on September 11 were not in
vain. Each child born from that event represents to me a bold,
of Vigilance--a human life specially created with a unique blessing from
the 3,000 Angels of Vigilance who died that day as symbols that we must
never again become Complacent about Terrorism, or forget to leave our
homes without hugging our loved ones and telling them we "love them."
That day, the Second Tuesday of September, reminds us all to live life to
the fullest--to succor the 1440 minutes each day offers with Courage,
Conviction and Right Action and to avoid the Terror of Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency which can foul a person's thoughts and spoil the freshness
and beauty of Life..
I like to think that the child stretching inside my daughter's womb will be delivered by the hands of the
Sentinels of Vigilance. He or she, earthbound from the Spirits of
Vigilance, will be a gift to us. My daughter's child--as will the
thousands of others born from that conceptional period following Nine
Eleven--will symbolize the hope of the future. They will all be
Children of Vigilance.
According to Health Watch, a publication
monitoring new births, an increase of new babies this summer is projected
to be 25% higher than normal. September 11, while shrouded in
death and destruction, also represented a Phoenix of Hope. From the
ashes of Terrorism has sprouted new seeds of Vigilance--parents giving birth
to children to help rebuild our society and sew the sinew of Vigilance
into our muscles.. Here is an excerpt from a
report in Health Watch illustrating the reasons some are having children
now, nine months following Nine Eleven:
Excerpts From May 29, 2002, Health Watch:
When asked why they want to have a child in such
turbulent times, many new parents cite a need for togetherness,
healing and even patriotism.
``Maybe our child can help in some small way to make the world a
better place,'' says Missy Acosta, who is due in July and lives in
Mt. Juliet, Tenn., just outside Nashville.
Christopher Coyne, of Houston, says he and wife Trish conceived a
daughter while on a brief honeymoon in Manhattan, one month after
planes hit the World Trade Center.
They've decided to name her Nicole Yvette Coyne — initials "NYC.''
But some experts say Sept. 11 isn't the only reason more couples are
While they're planning for an increase this summer compared with
last, births were already up 6 percent in April at Women & Infants
Hospital of Rhode Island in Providence. And Bassett Healthcare in
upstate New York says a mini baby boom happened at its hospitals in
the first quarter of this year. Other hospitals are
reporting a 25% spike in births, and some in New York City upwards
Some suspect that means couples decided to place parenthood above
fears about a shaky job market and faltering economy, not terrorism.
Even New Yorker Lisa Detwiler says the terrorist attacks she could
see from her Brooklyn home did not prompt her to get pregnant,
though they did have an effect.
She and husband Bill had been trying to conceive a third child for
almost a year — and were finally successful after being cooped up in
their home for days after Sept. 11 (they were unable to work in
``You're so happy that you're safe in bed and your husband is
alive,'' she says.
Detwiler hopes the peaceful sound of the name they've chosen — Grace
— will be a good omen, even as terrorist threats persist. Of the
name, she says: ``Hopefully, that'll be an indication of the year to
Whether by intent or default, our mission on earth is a simple one--"to leave the world a little better for those who
follow us." Often, we clutter this mission with our own selfish
demands such as a big house, a couple of cars, money in the bank, a great
job, great clothes, movies, conveniences---but in the final analysis--it
comes down to building our children's character so they might be stronger
than we were emotionally, spiritually, financially, socially, and
This is the same mission an acorn has, or a
seedling from any plant, or a piece of pollen from a flower, or the eggs of
a salmon, or a cub bear--any living creature for that matter seeks to
offer its offspring a "better life.".
Each generation of living things attempts to bolster its future
generations with the "strongest survival genes" so its species might
sustain its place in nature.
The weaknesses of the species are delimited by Nature's masterful strokes,
while the ability of the living creature to
survive and prosper is enhanced. It is the Vigilance of Nature that
causes things to grow and prosper. Were Nature Complacent, she would
not provide the tools for her children to adapt to a world of change, and
all that is would stagnate and eventually die because it did not change
with the times.
In New York City, for example, there has
been an influx in the peregrine falcon. The creatures have taken
roost upon the tall buildings, adapting to the walls of concrete that
replaced trees, and feeding on the city's pigeons. The powerful
creatures of flight have adapted to survive.
A blade of grass offers a page directly out of Nature's Survival Book. Whenever I see a piece of grass growing up through a crack in a New York
City sidewalk, I pause to give it honor for fighting for its right to
survive in a world trying to squeeze it out of existence. I offer tribute to
its tenacity despite the odds against it. Nature's will can never be
overpowered by Man's or Woman's.
So too, do I honor all the children
being born as a result of the Terrorist attack. These special
babies are like the struggling pieces of grass fighting for their place in
the sun despite the Terror of the concrete weighing upon their shoulders..
The Osama bin Laden's of the world
attempt to crush the will of a society by Terrorizing it into
Complacency. They use Fear and Intimidation to suffocate
competing species that does not conform to their philosophy, their
America's "post Nine Eleven
Baby Boom," is perhaps the strongest evidence that America will not
surrender its "natural" will to live or fight for its rights of Freedom.
If Americans had been beaten into Complacency, its birth rate would have
dropped rather than spiked in the aftermath of the Terrorist attack.
Nature is on Vigilance's side
regarding this issue.
Were Nature to deny the power
of Freedom its right to grow and prosper, it would thwart the growth of
those who defend and favor the birth of a more Tyrannical species.
Some claim the dinosaurs didn't survive Nature's master plan because as a species they were so
large and tyrannical they upset the balance of nature by consuming more
than their share
at the expense of so many other species.
there is the moral gene that must be considered part of Nature's decision
regarding whom she prefers to be her gardeners. Historically, the
genes of "good" versus those of "evil" have always won the Battle of
Armageddon. Anyone who flips the pages of history will find that those who rose to power and ruled by the Sword
Of Tyranny were eventually cut down by it. The Hitlers might have
risen quickly, but they fell hard into a pile of ashes. That which
lays waste on humanity does not survive Nature's ultimate wrath.
Over time, Tyranny and Terrorism can
never sustain itself. Freedom and Vigilance always wins--even
though the battles seem horrific, and the price of victory often is laced
with sadness and dismay.
That's why the children being born
today, and over the next few months, stand above the crowd. They are symbols of the
blades of grass fighting through the cracks of Terrorism's concrete.
Their innocence issues a "death warrant" to Terrorism in , reminding
the world that the "evil in some" cannot be victorious over the "good
in the man."
One out of four children being
born in June, July and August of this year will statistically have been conceived by parents who
refused to accept the world as a place of "Terror," but rather one of
limitless "Vigilance" and "opportunity." If a
parent-to-be had been Intimidated or Fearful or Complacent about the
threats of Terrorism, the last decision would be to bring a child into a
world of Terror.
I am hopeful the children who grow into adults from
these births will recognize their special charge--their inherent obligation to
sustain Vigilance as perhaps their brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews,
nieces were not.
Many of their births were not just
Certain parents elected to bring to this
earth children to carry the message of Vigilance.. These parents
could have crawled into a shell of Complacency, refusing to bring a child
into a world laced with constant threats of unknown Terrorisms yet to
come. They chose instead to seed the Garden of Vigilance, not dig
Perhaps the birth of so
many Children of Vigilance might make the President of the United States reconsider his "First Strike Military Advocacy,"
and rather than issue to the Terrorists of the world a challenge of
"violence begets violence," one that offers a far more intimidating
message. He might wish to send the Osama bin Laden's of the world
the U.S." new birth" reports as a sign post that the American people have
not fallen victim to the threats of Terrorism, but instead, have
retaliated in the most powerful "First Strike" way possible--by bringing
Children of Vigilance to bear upon Terrorism's footsteps.
I believe the most brutal blow to
Terrorism isn't a bomb or a bullet--but a people's resolve to not let
Fear, Intimidation or Complacency stop them from evolving and
strengthening their resolve to live in Peace and Harmony. The
increased birth rate strikes at
the heart of Tyranny and Oppression.
Parents of Vigilance who
mustered the Courage, Conviction and Right Action to bring a child into
the world of post Nine Eleven telegraph their "human" refusal to accept the terms and
conditions of Terrorism.
When my daughter's child enters the
world in the next few days I believe it will be delivered by the Hands of Vigilance.
also know the child's mid wife has been the Sentinels of Vigilance.
And I believe my third grandchild's first breath will be
rich with Vigilance's Courage,
Conviction and Right Action, and his or her first exhalation will purge
the elements of Terrorism--the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency it feeds
Its first cry will announce to the
world: "Another Child of Vigilance has been born!"