September 5, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 358
Where Is My Mommy?  My Daddy?
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

       GROUND ZERO, New York City, September 5--The following letter is in response to the Children of Nine Eleven, who ask, "Where Is My Mommy?  My Daddy?"

Dear Children of Nine Eleven,                              September 5, 2002

         Some people might say your mommy or daddy is in Heaven, or in a "Better Place," or with God and the Angels.   There is no doubt your mother or father, or grandpa or grandma, or cousin or uncle, aunt, brother or sister is in a beautiful place where he or she can keep an eye on you and your friends, and all the children's children's children.
         Some also say there is a reason for everything, even if we don't understand that reason.   I believe that your mother or father or loved one who was lost in the terrible events of Nine Eleven are still here, watching, guarding, loving you from the bottom of his or her heart.

       I was there that day, at Ground Zero.   I saw the terrible, senseless destruction. I was sad for you and all the children who lost so many loved ones.    I sat with tears in my eyes watching the smoke and fire.   I felt alone too.  Then I saw something glorious and beautiful I wish to share with you.  Perhaps it will help you know where your mommy and daddy is, or one of your loved ones who was lost that day.
        As I looked up from the rubble and ash, I saw the smoke rising into the sky.   At first, it was just smoke.  My eyes burned from the soot and tears, but I kept looking at the smoke.   I began to see something in the smoke.   It was the image of figures of men and women. 
        They were of all different colors, sizes and shapes, speaking different languages.  Some were mothers and fathers.  Others were grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins.  Some were old.  Others were young.  Some rich, some poor.

        They reached out to one another, holding hands.  One by one, they floated up to form a great circle in the sky.   They seemed to be talking to one another, deciding whether to continue to rise up or to stay.
        When the last one reached out and took her place in the circle, next to a fireman and policeman, who were holding hands with a man who shined shoes and a woman who was the president of a big company, they began to talk.  Finally, everyone nodded his or her head.
        They all voted to stay.   To stand guard over Ground Zero.   They voted to become Sentinels of Vigilance, to protect all the children and their children's children's children from Terrorism.  And that's where they are today.
       They squeezed themselves together into one tightly packed ball of people of all different nationalities, from all different kinds of jobs.  The tighter they pressed together, the more they become one, until finally they stood as one out many. 
        The final form they have taken is  a combination of a man and woman, standing back-to-back, the man watching the east, the woman scanning the western horizon   Their heads turn like the beacon on lighthouse, illuminating the dark shadows where Terrorism tries to hide, exposing it, frightening it away.
        On top of their heads rests a wreath of peace, woven from fig leaves.   On their hips, hanging from a golden rope tied around their waist, is a Sword of Vigilance ready to be drawn should any Terrorist try and attack the innocent, the helpless, the children or families of the land.

       Their right hand is free to draw upon the Sword of Vigilance if necessary, but they do not seek revenge or wish to act out of anger or hatred, for they know the enemy, Terrorism, is driven by such forces.   Their job is to protect, not attack.   But if any of their loved ones are threatened, they will not hesitate to protect them. And they love all children, even those not their own.
        In their left hand they hold up the Shield of Vigilance.    In the center of the shield are the letters, "S" and "V," embossed so the sunlight dances upon its golden center.  The letters stand for "Semper Vigilantes," a Latin saying for  Always Vigilant.
        Around the borders of the Shield of Vigilance is carved three statements:  Courage!  Conviction!  Right Action!
        These are the called the Creeds of Vigilance--or, the Beliefs of Vigilance.  It is these three statements the Sentinels live by:  Courage, Conviction, Right Action.
        The Sentinels use their shields to ward off Terrorism's arrows of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
        The Sentinels know that Terrorism's goal is to drive us into a state of Fear, to make us tremble and feel we are at the mercy of its power.  
          These Sentinels of Vigilance stand guard over Ground Zero to remind us that there are two types of Terrorism.   First, the kind that hurts your body and creates physical pain.    The second, and the most important, is the one that hurts your feelings and causes emotional pain and suffering.
          They call them:  "Terrorism from Without," and "Terrorism from Within."
          The Sentinels believe the most dangerous is the Terrorism from Within.   It creeps into your mind when you don't feel "good enough," or "loved enough," or "smart enough," or "pretty enough," or "rich enough," or "lucky enough" compared with others.  It makes you afraid, intimidates you, and drives you into complacency.
         The Sentinels of Vigilance know that inside you is both light and darkness, happiness and sadness, hope and dismay.    They know this because it is inside everyone, big or small, rich or poor.    They know we must fight the Terrorism Feelings Within to protect our land from Terrorism Without, for if we do not have the Courage, Conviction and ability to take the Right Action, Terrorism will return again and again.  Terrorism preys on our weaknesses, and shuns our strengths.   Terrorism is like any bully.   It will run away only when it is stood up to.
         To help us remember to not be afraid, to not be intimidated, to take the right actions,  the Sentinels made up the Pledge of Vigilance.   It is a vow that people take--mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews and loved ones--reminding us all that we must fight Terrorism daily on two fronts--outside us and inside us.
         We learn from the Pledge that Terrorism exists inside us when we feel Fear, or are Intimidated by someone or something (feeling less than another).  It also grows in us when we become Complacent. 
          Complacency means telling ourselves we don't care, that what we have to say or think really doesn't matter.  Or,  that no one listens to us.  Or, what we have to say isn't worthy or as worthy as what others have to say.   Complacency is about giving up on ourselves and others.  It's about letting the "Bully Inside" win.
         The Sentinels offer us their Shield of Vigilance to protect us against these Terrorism (bully)  feelings and thoughts.    

         They urge us to use the Shield of Courage to deflect the arrows of Fear.   They teach us that Conviction--standing up for our beliefs no matter how small and insignificant they may seem--will always shatter Intimidation just as surely as Humpty Dumpty fell from the wall. 
       By drawing up the Shield's power of Conviction, we never have to feel "less than" another again.   Instead, we can be anyone's equal in human stature, respecting their opinions as they should ours, never feeling "better than" another, or separating ourselves from the Circle of Vigilance.
        Finally, and the hardest of all, , is taking the Right Action when all we feel like is giving up because we think no one cares.    The Shield of Vigilance gives us Right Action to knock down the Spears of Complacency Terrorism throws our way.   Complacency is the feeling of being powerless over our lives, believing we are victims of circumstance, or that we are little ants dodging the feet of giant elephants.  When we become a mere grain of sand on the beach, with everyone walking over us, trampling us, it only means that Terrorism's Complacency has wounded us.   We can recover.   We can heal.   We can fight back.  We can take the Right Action.
        When we are caught in Terrorism's snare, we need to listen.   We listen for the Sentinels of Vigilance.  If we cock our ear to their Voices, we will hear them whisper:  "You can do it.  You can overcome Fear with Courage.  You can stand tall with Conviction over Intimidation.  You can take the Right Action by not falling in the pit of Complacency.  I'm here for you.   I love and respect you.  We all do.   Stand up for yourself and the children, and their children's children's children.   Dream.   Hope.   Don't give up.  Don't let Terrorism win the battle over your thoughts."

       The Sentinels of Vigilance are our Courage Builders.    They help us stand tall among the Giants of Oppression.   They hoist us upon their shoulders so we can see there is no difference between the king and pauper, between the shoe shine man and the president of a big company, between someone walking down the street with holes in his shoes and another driving by in a limousine.   They help us see that human strength is measured by what's inside our hearts, not by what we wear on our outsides, or what we look like.
        So when you wonder, "Where has my mommy or daddy gone?," or when you feel sad and frightened that you are alone, or you think the world has turned against you--STOP!    Look up into the sky.       
      There, you will see--if you look hard--a man and woman standing back-to-back amongst the clouds, wearing a wreath of peace on their heads.   Each  will have a sword hanging from a golden rope around his or her waist, and each will hold up a Shield of Vigilance to reflect the sun's light on the darkness of the Terrorism stalking your thoughts.

     If you truly listen, you will hear your mother's or father's or loved one's Voice whispering to you, "Semper Vigilantes--Be Always Vigilant."
       You will feel the power of your Courage, Conviction and Right Actions fire inside you, kindled by the thousands of other Sentinels of Vigilance who stand guard over you.  
        You will feel the Forces of Vigilance drive away the darkness of Terrorism that seeks to spear your heart with Fear, wound your spirit with Intimidation, and crush your Hope into a pile of lifeless Complacency.
        The Sentinels of Vigilance won't let that happen--not if you believe in them.

      Be proud of where your mother or father or loved one is.  Look into the sky.
      You are not alone--not now--not ever.
      They are there, watching, guarding, protecting you, and your children, and their children's children's children.  
       Can you hear them whispering:  "Semper Vigilantes...Semper Vigilantes?"
                                                                                   Cliff McKenzie
                                                                                                              Editor, VigilanceVoice

©CAM, 2002


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