Article Overview:  The Muscle of Vigilance?   What is it?  For many during the Great Blackout of 2003 it was the ability of people to rely on themselves and their community rather than police, firemen and politicians.   It was Community Rule, banding around the children.  It was Vigilance at its best.


Sunday--August 17, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 704
The Muscle of Vigilance Flexes During Blackout In NYC
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Aug. 17, 2003--  If Vigilance is a muscle, it flexed its strength over its protagonist, Terrorism, and pressed more than anyone could imagine over its head during the recent New York City Blackout on August 15, 2003.

Vigilance flexing strength over Terrorism

      Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, the Triad of Terrorism, scattered in the darkness when 8 million citizens of New York City sewed their Vigilant sinew into one muscle to defeat the Beast of Terror's shadow seeking to inject panic in a city considered as the major target of all Terrorists trying to make their mark.
       The power failure that strangled electricity to death from as far as Ottawa, Canada through and including the major cities of Cleveland, Ohio,  Detroit, Michigan and New York's Big Apple, tested the Vigilance Will of more than 30 million Americans throughout the Northeastern section of North America.
       I witnessed what I would call a Common Pledge of Vigilance against The Beast of Terror's Wrath.
       Millions of people surrounded the children and protected them with strength and purpose when the lights were snuffed.
       Perhaps no single event is more frightening to a child than darkness, for in the dark lurks the bogeymen of the mind--those creatures that haunted us all when we were growing up, the "shadows that went bump in the night," the "creatures" that lived under the bed and in the dark corners of the closet.
      But Vigilant arms swaddled the children.
      Parents and Loved Ones of Vigilance swept up the children and presented themselves as Soldiers of Vigilance, banding together despite race, color, creed, political or economic differential.

Jorge Romano, Deputy Commissioner for the city's Dept. of the Aging, with senior citizen meals

Cynthia Winstead carried a pregnant woman 24 floors down to the street and then walked with her for the next five hours to her home in Brooklyn.

       Citizens took command posts at intersections and instinctively directed traffic.  Shopkeepers handed out water bottles and ice cream.   A midtown couple shared their hotel room with a family from Connecticut with three young children.  More than 30,000 senior citizens across the five-boroughs got a meal due to Vigilant Department for the Aging workers.  Trainloads of subway riders were rescued out of the underground tunnels by citizens learning of their plight.  A man on the E train had no flashlight to lead people to an escape hatch so he used his guitar to quell hysteria.  Both men and women came to the aid of others, illustrating to the children that everyone has a role in helping out when the threat of Terror looms.
      The EGBOK Rule was put into place--Everything's-Gonna-Be-Okay.
      Terrorism's greatest weapons--Fear, Intimidation and Complacency--were replaced by the Principles of Vigilance--Courage, Conviction and Right Actions that benefit future generations.
       To overpower Fear it only takes One Percent more Courage, and to counterbalance Intimidation, Conviction needs only One Percent more energy to stand tall over Intimidation.  And, finally, Complacency is swept into the gutter by Right Actions that requires a simple effort of conjuring One Percent more of it than the urge to think it is someone else's job to protect the children from harm.
       In the East Village where I live there are a number of families, mostly Dominican and Puerto Rican.    On the street where my daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren reside, it is filled with children ages ranging from baby carriages into the teens.

The community practiced EGBOK - Everything's-gonna- be-okay.

       Throughout the ordeal of being stripped of all modern conveniences, especially those of light, the street became alive with Parents and Sentinels of Vigilance.  There was laughter and a sense of filial relationship between all, sutured I am convinced by the common thread of children.
        The community bonding seemed to culminate when someone uncapped a fire hydrant and hundreds from the block gathered to run in and out of the water shooting out in a fierce spray directed by a local community member who used a tin can with holes in both ends to channel the gushing liquid into a nozzle that spewed the liquid three stories into the air.
       I grabbed my grandson and we rushed into the spray, blending into the quiltwork of community members cheering and laughing as the street's differences were washed away and the universality of people standing together as one rose above any selfishness.
       Terrorism loves to divide and conquer.
       It hungers to cripple people by pitting one against another, turning the idea of community into anarchy where people loot and Terrorize their neighborhoods like packs of wild beasts.
       Little of that happened during the Great Blackout of 2003.
       Vigilance ruled.
       Part of that Vigilance, I believe, is the result of September 11, 2001 when Terrorism sought to weaken American's resolve to work as one Vigilant body.   The goal of Terrorism to inject Fear, Intimidation and Complacency failed during this Blackout, unlike the 'milder' blackout of 1977 when looting was rampant, as it failed during Nine Eleven.
       What the Nine Eleven attack and the Great Blackout verified was the resolve of the Citizens of Vigilance to protect their children and their community from the Beast's madness.

Community bonding culminated through a turned-on fire hydrant

        There was a resolve as thick as steel cast over the Big Apple, one of defiance against panic and fear.   People walked taller, threw back their shoulders, and sent out the signal to the world around them they were not afraid, no matter how much Jell-O might have been jiggling on their insides, their outsides shined with strength and vigor.
         Personally, I've been in so many brutal combat situations I often think I have calluses on my soul.  But I saw young men and women, parents, grandparents, taking charge of their communities with as much determination as a field general during a massive assault on the weakest part of his line.

        Perhaps everyone was a combat veteran of the Beast of Terror.  Perhaps the attack of Nine Eleven sparked in all that Complacency didn't have any room in their lives, and they knew that each had to take charge in his or her own way, and not wait for the world's "protectors" to rush to the rescue.
        During the Great Blackout, everyone knew no one could do anything.  You couldn't even call the fire department, for the phones didn't work.   If it came down to a fire, it would be a bucket brigade, neighbors helping neighbors.
        If looting broke out, it would be the community who would stop it, for there would be no way to contact the police to rush to the scene.
        Stripping the community of "government services" and protective lifelines forced us all to turn to ourselves.
        That was the sense of Vigilance that loomed over the East Village, the last sector of the city to receive lights.
        From 4:09 p.m. on Thursday, August 15 until 9:30 p.m. on Friday, August 16, the East Village was dark.

When I was at Ground Zero on Nine Eleven, I witnessed the Spirits of Vigilance rising up from the ashes of the Twin Towers

         But its soul was alive and bright.

        When I was at Ground Zero during the attack on Nine Eleven, I saw what I believe to be the Spirits of Vigilance rising up from the ashes of the Twin Towers.  I believe the nearly 3,000 souls lost that day hover above Ground Zero, linked hand-in-hand, mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins and loved ones, all Sentinels of Vigilance there to remind us that we, the people, must serve as our own protection against Terrorism.
        Terrorism attacks us individually.  Unless we, the Citizens of Vigilance, brace ourselves against Terrorism, we fail our duty as guardians of the children.   The Great Blackout reminded us we could not rely on the police or fire department or political forces of government to protect us.   The reason, we couldn't reach them.
        We were left to rely on our selves and our neighbors.
         And, it worked.
         The Muscle of Vigilance flexed.
         As it did, the Beast of Terror fled.

We must not turn off the Lights of Vigilance

      While I lobby to have everyone sign the Pledge of Vigilance and vow daily to fight Terrorism, I was convinced that the Great Blackout of 2003 forced us all to become Sentinels of Vigilance.  We all signed the Pledge of Vigilance by default during those long, testing hours.
        I just hope that as the lights go on we do not turn them off to Vigilance, and start relying on others to do what only we can do for ourselves--protect ourselves and our children from the darkness of the Beast.


Aug 16--A Test of Vigilance over Terrorism

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