September 15, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 368
Baptizing A Son Of Vigilance

Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, September 15--At noon today, my grandson will be baptized at the Church of Nativity in New York City in Lower Manhattan..  He will become a "Son of Vigilance."

        His body will be immersed in a small tub of water - the same simple stainless steel tub used by his brother and sister - then his father will raise him naked over his head, presenting him to the congregation and the world, offering him to the community of human beings, offering  his soul as part of the endless struggle for Vigilance over Terrorism, for Good over Bad, for Right over Wrong.

                  The ceremony will invoke those attending to become Sentinels of Vigilance for him.   The lifting of his naked body, anointed in "Holy Water," represents the purity of his soul.  Its beseeches all in attendance to protect that purity, to renounce Satan and to guard Angus from the Terrorists of the Soul.
      This will be the third time I have witnessed such a ceremony.   The other two times were when our other grandchildren were baptized, Matt, now 6, and Sarah, 4.
         But this ceremony will be slightly different.
         Angus will carry with him a special meaning when he is offered to the world.  He is a Child of Vigilance, conceived on September 11, the anniversary of the Terrorist attack a year ago.   His baptism will symbolize the dawn of the Era of Vigilance.  It will charge all those present to keep the Eyes of Argus upon the horizon, ever Vigilant for the Shadows of Terrorism that creep upon the earth when least suspected to hunt and haunt the innocent.

         The ceremony will prompt those present to carry the Eternal Torch of Vigilance so its light will cast away the Shadows of Terrorism encroaching on Angus, and all the Children of Innocence.
         Angus won't be the only child to enter the Era of Vigilance today. In America, 11,712 babies are born each day, 351,000 a month are given birth in the U.S. representing 4.2 million a year. 
         Throughout the world, over 370,000 Children of Vigilance are born each day.  They repopulate the world in all four corners of the earth.  Daily births globally include:  China, 49,315; Iraq, 2400; Israel, 385; Palestine Territory, 379;  Afghanistan, 3,157; Pakistan, 15,500; India, 73,400; Europe, 19,917; and South America, 22,000.
         Each culture has various rites to welcome the child, some religious, some social.  But all cultures know the child is the future of the family, the future of the state, the future of society, the future of the nation and ultimately, the world.

        In many countries, the odds of the child's survival will be severely limited.  While deaths in America are 9 per1000, in Afghanistan they are 19 per1000, over twice ours.
        Life doesn't guarantee life.
        And Life is more than living.   It includes evolving beyond the pain and suffering that afflicts so many in a multitude of ways.  It means rising above the Terror of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that afflicts us all when we allow the Beast of Terror to roam within us unchecked.
        The community of human beings who celebrate the birth of a child, celebrate the hope the child will be happy, joyous, free and live a fruitful, healthy life and prosperous life.   No sane culture wishes Terror upon a child.  Yet it exists.

      The baptism rite is a religious ritual to wash the Terror free from the child--to purify its soul so the "Beast of Terror" will be eradicated.  Christians call this beast "sin."  Other religions have various names for keeping the soul cleansed of Terror.
        In some primitive cultures the practice of couvade is performed to foil the Beast of Terror.   While the mother undergoes abor in one hut, the father is another screaming and wailing, mocking labor pains.  His goal is to draw the attention of the "demons" away from the birth of the new child, much as a mother duck feigns being wounded to draw attention from her ducklings when being stalked by a predator.
        Couvade cultures believes demons seek to enter a child's soul, and burrow into its dark caverns, making a Terrorist home in the heart of innocence.   By the time the demons figure out the ruse of couvade, the baby is believed to be born free of them.  Terrorism has been foiled.
       Similarly, the Christian baptism rite of announces to the "demons of Terror," the child is protected by Sentinels of Vigilance, a God Father, a God Mother and the religious community. It is a message to the Beast of Terror that any attempt to capture the child's "soul" with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency will be met with the Shields and Swords of Vigilance--rich with the steel of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.    

       While my grandson's ceremony will be held in a Catholic Church, and invoke the Christian principles of baptism, it will not be different than any child in any part of the world being blessed by the community.  His ritual will invoke the Spirits of Vigilance to protect him from harm--specifically from the internal harm of "evil" over "good," of "Terror" over "Vigilance."
       Human beings have realized since the dawn of civilization that a child's innocence must be protected.   The rites of "baptism" belong to no particular religion in that sense.   From the time the first caveman had a child, he held it up over his head as a symbol of thanks, and asked whatever spirits he believed in to protect the child, to give it health and happiness of mind, body and spirit.

       Today, at the baptism ceremony, when my son-in-law hoists Angus up after being immersed in the water, (as he has our other two grandchildren) I will see Angus receive the same Spirit of Vigilance that 17 million other children born on this day throughout the world equally deserve.    His elevation to the heavens will be, to me, an offering to the Sentinels of Vigilance who hover over Ground Zero not only here in New York City, but at the Ground Zeros in every country in the world, for there are many Ground Zeros, far more than we can count.
      Angus represents one of 328 other babies here in New York City born nine months after Nine Eleven.  All were conceived in the aftermath of the dust and debris of the Terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.  His embryo was brought to life amidst the stench of burning bodies from Ground Zero. The smell of death seeped into the pores of all us for weeks as the pall of destruction hung over Lower Manhattan.  Its acrid perfume was a reminder that Terrorism strikes unexpectedly and targets the innocent, the vulnerable.  
        Angus represents the obverse of that horrible smell of a year ago.  He emanates the sweet smell of purity, the scent of life, the perfume of innocence and hope.  He is a Child of Vigilance.

      Angus will not be alone as Child of Vigilance.   He will have many Brothers and Sisters of Vigilance representing the Hope of the Future.  Here in New York he will have his 328 other Children of Vigilance to support him  In Palestine, 379 will have his same birthday; in Israel, 385; in Afghanistan, 3,151; in Europe, 19,917, in Iran, 3,259.  
     All the children born on his birthday are not being baptized in the blood of Terrorism, but in the pure, crystal clear waters of Vigilance, despite their parents' beliefs, despite the religious difference, the cultural, economic and social divisions.  They are all Children of Vigilance.
     I hope that as the global families gather around their Children of Vigilance--representing their sons and daughters, grandchildren,  nieces, nephews, cousins, and loved ones--none will wish upon them to carry out acts of Terrorism against themselves or others.  Instead, I hope all the Parents and Loved Ones of Vigilance will seek the Courage, the Conviction and take the Right Actions to protect the children from the Beast of Terror.
       Angus' baptism will be, for me, the Baptism of Vigilance.

        Our grandson will represent on of the 369,901 children throughout the world conceived on September 11, 2001 and brought to full term birth as Symbols of Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.  Each has a special purpose, a unique destiny to rid the world of the Beast of Terror who seeks to infect the children with Fear, Intimidation and Complacnecy.
       When my son-in-law elevates Angus into the Light of Vigilance, I will see the Sentinels of Vigilance descend upon his nakedness.  I will see them wrap him in their arms.  I will hear their Vow of Vigilance ring in my ears, and I will join them in saying:  "Semper Vigilantes....Semper Vigilantes..."
     I will hear that vow not only for Angus, but for all the 369,901 children born on his birthday.  I will hear the Vow of Vigilance not only for them, but also for their children's children's children..


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