Tuesday.. January 15, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 126
MONTANA GOVERNOR RECEIVES VIGILANCE ARMBAND
FROM WORLD TRADE CENTER GROUND-ZERO SURVIVOR
Jan.15—The first woman governor of Montana was presented a Parent of
Vigilance armband worn by Cliff McKenzie, New York City Combat
Correspondent Team News Editor, a survivor of the Ground Zero
terrorist attack on September 11.
McKenzie, a former U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondent
during the Vietnam War, and his wife Lori, a native of East Helena,
presented the vigilance armband to Governor Judy Martz following the
Last Chance Pachyderm Club's annual banquet and officer installation
on Jan. 14 at Jorgenson’s Inn in Helena. The Pachyderm Club is a
Republican organization devoted to building and strengthening the
“I’m honored to receive it,” the governor said after
learning McKenzie had the armband specially made immediately after the
attack and has been wearing it daily in remembrance of the thousands
killed that day. “I saw people jumping from burning buildings and the
insanity of a war zone that day,” he recounted. “I thought we were
all dead when the buildings crumbled. It was like the end of the
Surviving the attack, the 58-year-old combat veteran and
his wife launched a website to counter the effects of
terrorism on both children and adults. The
http://www.VigilanceVoice.com, promotes the Pledge
of Vigilance. It is a vow McKenzie and his
wife designed for anyone concerned about protecting children
from the physical or emotional vulnerability to terrorism.
“Terrorism’s fallout is fear, intimidation and
complacency,” McKenzie said after presenting the Governor Martz with
his armband. “It must be fought with courage, conviction and
action," he said. "We fight terrorism on an emotional as well as
physical level,” he added. Governor Martz's record and concern for
children sparked him to give Montana's first woman chief executive
officer the armband. Her chairmanship of the Montana Promise
mentoring program for children, and her work inspiring young people to
achieve as she has in both the Olympics and politics, earned her his
recognition. The governor is one of four current women holding down
the role as leader of their state, and was a former Olympic speed
McKenzie presented the armband following the installation
of new officers in the 12-year-old Pachyderm Club. In the center of
the black armband is an American Flag. Above the flag are stitched
the Latin words “Semper Vigilantes,” and below it, “United, In Death
McKenzie, former senior vice president of marketing for
major national companies, designed the symbol immediately
after the attack. “Semper Vigilantes”-- “always
vigilant”--was chosen to represent the need to never forget
the lesson of Nine Eleven. Latin, he said, implies
“As a reporter, I believe history is the best measuring
device for the future,” he commented. “When I researched the word
vigilance I found that nearly 2,500 years ago a Greek poet,
Simonides, immortalized a heroic group of Spartans who gave their
lives in the battle of Thermopylae against hordes of Persian
terrorists attacking their country. The poet turned their
sacrificial deaths into legend," McKenzie explained. “He sculpted
them into Greece’s Sentinels of Vigilance. Those who died on
September 11th are America’s Sentinels of Vigilance. I
believe they sacrificed their lives to remind us to always fight fear
with courage, intimidation with conviction, and complacency with
The words: “United, in Death and Life!” at the bottom of
the armband, he says, are to remind us our worst enemy is
“I prefer to think of those who died on Nine Eleven as
Warriors of Vigilance rather than victims of a tragedy,” he said. “If
we think of them as the Greeks did their heroes, their memories can
live forever rather than just one day a year when we mark a calendar
for a national holiday. Vigilance is a minute-by-minute necessity.
That’s the legacy they left."
His website address-- VigilanceVoice.com --is an acronym for New
York City Combat Correspondent. "I thought I had retired my war
reporting thirty years ago until September 11th occurred," he said.
"Now, I have given myself a new title and a new mission--fighting
terrorism with words. My grandchildren’s safety and their emotional
security drive me to publish every day," he said.
On the website, McKenzie spells out the principles of
vigilance he believes are necessary for Americans to protect
themselves from emotional and physical terrorism of all shapes and
forms. He calls for Parents of Vigilance Clubs to be formed in
neighborhoods and communities, and for homes to display the logo of
Semper Vigilantes as a daily reminder to fight all forms of fears,
intimidations and complacencies.
The six-foot-four-inch, two-hundred and seventy-pound
McKenzie apologized to Governor Martz for the size of the armband he
has worn for the past four months.
“I wanted her to have the original one. It's a real
veteran,” he said. McKenzie was impressed with her commitment and
conviction to standing up for what is right in the face of
criticism. “One of her most powerful platforms is her concern for the
children of the state of Montana, and the security of their future.
Taking personal responsibility for one's actions is the key to her
leadership. To be a Parent of Vigilance we can't afford to pass off
the security of our children, our communities, our neighborhoods, our
states or nations to government or the media. We must shoulder that
responsibility personally, and the governor symbolizes that pioneer
spirit of vigilance. That's why I gave her the armband."
Residents of New York City for the past two years,
McKenzie and his wife moved to New York from Dana Point, California to
be near their two daughters and two grandchildren following a portion
of Mrs. McKenzie's ongoing treatment of breast cancer. They have been
married for 35 years and are currently visiting Mrs. McKenzie’s
parents, Stan and Char Lane, residents of The Waterford, in Helena.
Stan Lane was formerly the general manager of the ASARCO plant in East
McKenzie says he has adopted Montana as his surrogate
home state. Born in Oregon, he traveled around the country with his
military parents, never feeling he had roots in any particular state.
Upon his return from Vietnam in 1966, he married the former Lori Lane
of East Helena in her hometown. He has visited the state frequently
over the past thirty-five years.
“I’ve always had an affinity for the rugged individualism of
Montanans,” he stated. “September 11 reminded me the backbone of
America needed to be reinforced by people with the courage to protect
our Constitutional Rights. Montana symbolizes the strength of
America's resolve. Plus," he added with a smile, "I love fishing in
Rock Creek and the Gallatin.”
While McKenzie writes and publishes his “Ground Zero
Combat Terrorism Diaries” daily, his wife commands the editor’s desk
for what she terms “The Sophia Diaries.”
A former microbiologist and survivor of breast cancer,
Mrs. McKenzie skews her stories on how parents, grandparents
and loved ones can best buffer the impact of terrorism
“I baby-sit the children almost every day,” she said.
“Children have an intuitive understanding of the suffering and pain of
terrorism. We conduct G-Ma school, and have conversations about many
things. The children as did many of their friends witnessed the
terrible destruction of September 11. I do my best to relate to
others those stories I believe can help children live with the
constant threat of emotional and physical terrorism in a positive,
The McKenzie's have two daughters living in New York City.
The older, Sabra, is the mother of the two grandchildren. She is
currently attending New York’s Union Theological Seminary and will
receive her Masters In Divinity this May. According to Mrs.
McKenzie, her daughter and her husband are both staunch peace
advocates. On the obverse, the McKenzie’s other daughter, also a
resident of New York City, is a federal special agent who carries two
nine-millimeter Glocks and is constantly busy hunting down and
“We joke with friends that we have the best of both worlds in
New York City,” Mrs. McKenzie said. “One of our daughters carries a
cross down the streets, and the other carries two guns. We feel very
The McKenzie's are returning to New York City on January 21st.
They are currently publishing their webpage, http://VigilanceVoice.com daily
To Jan. 14--MONTANA VIGILANCE