Article Overview:  Today is the 700th day from Ground Zero.  What have we learned?  How closer to Vigilance are we, if at all?


Wednesday--August 13, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 700
The 700th Day From Ground Zero--The Birth Of Vigilance
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Aug. 13, 2003--  Today is the 700th Day from Ground Zero.
   Seven-hundred and one days ago I heard the Terrorist-commanded jet scream overhead.  I looked up and saw its silver belly shooting toward Ground Zero.   I remember thinking only that something bad was about to happen, for passenger jets don't fly that low.

The Marine Corps patrols with its Forward Air Observers

      In Vietnam I was under constant close air support by U.S. Marine jet pilots.  We patrolled with our Forward Air Observers (FACs).  They were jet-jockeys, fighter pilots themselves, assigned to crunch the ground with us grunts, and to talk to the Marine pilots when we needed air strikes.
      The idea was simple:  a pilot on the ground talking to a pilot in the sky hurling downward at 500 miles per hour to drop bombs or napalm on targets 100 yards away, and sometimes closer, was insurance that Marines would not be killed by mistake.  
     No other service has as close air support than the Marines, and the jets would scream down like falcons upon a field mouse and drop armament on the enemy with such precision we would leap up into a hail of enemy bullets and cheer when the machine gun nest blew into a thousand chunks of earth, bones and blood.
      But, there is a frightening moment when the jet is swooping down so close to your position you are not sure whether the pilot recognizes you as friend or foe.   The hair on your neck stiffens, and your anal sphincter contracts with such a force you aren't sure you can relieve yourself again.   
       You pray the pilot knows the difference between you and the bad guys, and there is that instant of doubt that rockets through your mind and body, forcing up prayers you never pray, and you wait, breathlessly, for the impact of the shell to strike, hopefully in front of you and not next to or behind you.
       I swallowed hard that morning, 700 days plus one ago.   I felt that same twist in my guts, that same emptiness as though the blood in my body froze for an instant as my heart paused, waiting to see if it would survive to beat again.
      In a way, that may be my reasoning for counting the days from Ground Zero less one day.   I don't count September 11.  It was a day when the world gasped.  A day when America's heart stopped.  A day when the Beast of Terror was born, strangling for a moment, the sun from shining.
      Ground Zero Day is an innominate one, neither white nor black, plus or minus.  It is the intersection between two paths, a merging of the railroad rails at some point called infinity.  It is that distance halved and halved and halved until you need an electron microscope to halve the final half.
      It's not unlike a birthday.  When we are one years old, we are really one years old plus nine months, or, if we were premature, one plus, say six months.
      Time is arbitrary anyway.

The Beast of Terror was reborn on Nine Eleven

      For some, time stopped on September 11, 2001.  On that second Tuesday of September, the world froze.   All that has happened since is but a blur.   The reality of the burning buildings, the falling bodies, the great roar and thunder of the Twin Towers collapsing, and the gagging, choking smell of burning concrete and 3,000 human bodies freeze frame in some people's minds.    They have lived an eternity in Ground Zero.   There is no Ground Zero Plus for them.
       That doesn't mean they don't fake it.  They might turn the calendar pages, honor birthdays, anniversaries, go to parades, punch the clock, prepare for various holidays in what might seem the mainstream of life, but deep within their horror clocks are frozen.
       The hands of the horror clock are frozen at 8:46 a.m. and 9:02 a.m., the respective times that American Airlines flight 11 crashed into the the World Trade Center North Tower (WTC-1) and United Airlines flight 175 exploded into the south Tower (WTC-2).    Two other times are also frozen:  9:37 a.m when American Airlines flight 77 smashed into the Pentagon, and 10:03 a.m. when United flight 93 fell into a farm field in Pennsylvania, its destination thwarted by a "Let's Roll" war cry issued by passengers who gave their lives so others on the ground might live.
      Ground Zero Day also includes two other times that freeze the date in many people's minds who were there that day, or witnessed the event live through television.   The two times are 10:05 a.m and 10:29 a.m.
       At 10:05, the south tower, WTC-2, struck after the north tower, collapsed.  It stood for 62 minutes.   At 10:29 the north tower, WTC-1, exploded into itself, surviving 104 minutes after impact.   During that time, an estimated 20,000 people escaped death.   Nearly 3,000 didn't.
       I was there that day, 700 and one days ago.  I watched the people leaping from the buildings billowing black and orange balls of fire, belched from the belly of the Beast of Terror.   I was there when the buildings collapsed and we thought for sure we were all dead.  I remember thinking I was about to take my last breath.  Time froze for me.
      That's why I don't count Ground Zero as a day in the normal calendar of events.   I separate not for negative reasons, but for much more positive ones.
      On that day, from bowels of the earth, rose the Beast of Terror upon American soil.  He ushered in the 21st Century with all the horrors of weapons of mass destruction that can reach across the globe to any town, village, city--including the most heavily guarded of all military establishments, the United States Pentagon, the seat of the modern world's most powerful destructive forces.

Ground Zero ushered in the Era of Vigilance

      Ground Zero proved that any American, and for that matter, any industrialized, advanced nation upon this earth, is vulnerable to the Beast of Terror's whims.
       It also ushered in the Era of Vigilance.
       On September 11, 2001, the Sentinels of Vigilance were born.  They rose out of the ashes, from the spirits of those who died that day, Mothers, Fathers, Grandparents, Nieces, Nephews, Brothers, Sisters, Cousins and Loved Ones of Vigilance.
       They armed themselves with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the benefit of the Children's Children's Children to fight the Triad of Terrorism--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
        They made vows that day to hover over Ground Zero and not fade into memories, not let Complacency wash away the reality that the Beast of Terror is now on the loose, an ever-present threat to all.
        I honor Ground Zero Day as that moment in time when the Pledge of Vigilance was created, a pledge made by those who wish to never forget to remember that the Beast of Terror can attack when least expected.
         And, that the Beast is not just about physical violence from those wishing to harm the United States or any other nation.
          The Beast can attack and does the human psyche.  It can make a person feel less than, unworthy, a failure.  It can twist one's thoughts into thinking that the world is a nail and they are a hammer, or, that they are nail and the world is the hammer.
          The Beast can rob Parents of the time to love their children, and for their children to learn to respect their parents.  
           The ultimate Terrorism is the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency one feels about life in general.  

Ground Zero Day awakens our minds and wills to become Sentinels of Vigilance

         Ground Zero Day was about erasing those Terrors.  It was about awakening our minds and wills to become Sentinels of Vigilance to not only defend our nation from foreign invasion, but to defend our thoughts and actions from the Beast's influence.
           Today, some 700 days plus one from the Terrorist attack, I call upon all who haven't yet, to take the Pledge of Vigilance.
           Make September 11 a frozen date in your mind.
           Freeze out the Beast of Terror.
           Take the Pledge of Vigilance. 


Aug 12--Creating An Anti-Terrorism Constitution For Iraq

©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design