Tuesday-- February 26, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 168
RAGS OF VIGILANCE
Tattered Flags Flying Over New York City
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City,
Feb. 26--Tattered flags. Torn flags. No flags.
Daily, the Flags of Vigilance seem to
evaporate, one at a time. The other day I caught the picture
above with my digital camera and trapped it as a reflection of memories
fading, of Vigilance leaking.
I know things come and things go.
I know the cycles of life replace the dead with the living, bury the past
with the hope of the future. All things pass. It is the
way of Nature.
But also, all things recycle.
The bad comes and is replaced with the
good, then the bad returns.
Complacency replaces Vigilant until the
next disaster. Then Vigilance rises in the consciousness and we bear
Shields of Vigilance until they seem too heavy and we put them down to
rest--often forgetting their need as new challenges, new problems capture
The tattered flag above reminds me of how
we forget to remember unless there is a gun to our head, or some disaster
drives our conscious back to a state of survival, a need to herd ourselves
as one to protect from the alien forces trying to rupture our way of life,
threatening our security.
One hundred and sixty nine days have
passed since the September 11th attack on the United States, the first foreign
enemy to assault our mainland since the War of 1812. The clock has
ticked off nearly a quarter million minutes since the World Trade Center
collapsed, and a jetliner smashed into the Pentagon. The total
time is 243,360 minutes. Time wears at the threads of
Vigilance, tatters them as the flags on cars have suffered over the past
five and a half (5.6) months.
It is harder to keep the television
on when the Pentagon briefings extol the war effort, for the battle to
kill bin Laden has run low on gas, and the pressing issues of the current
day shadow the horror of the past.
The peaks of Fear and pinnacles of
Intimidation have been lowered as our Complacency, our willingness to
forget, has grown in light of new problems, new challenges such as a
drought in New York, or the coming of the tax deadline of April 15, or the
creeping closeness of Spring, then Summer.
And we still don't have the "heads" of the
"evil ones" rolling on the floor of Congress. Instead we have
the Fear Factor on television where contestants sit in a chair and try to
manage their fear by slowing their heartbeats to prove their Courage,
their Conviction to manage mind over matter.
All societies seek to bury the past to make
room for the future. It is the way of Nature to allow us to evolve
in the present rather than to get stuck in the past. The
tattered flags symbolize the lack of priority of unity, and the need for
tilling the new soil of human enterprise.
But there is a clear and present danger in
the evolution of a tattered flag. It leaves a gaping hole in
the heart of Vigilance. It presumes that the "evil ones" have been
bombed and bulleted into submission, or at least intimidated into hiding.
It makes the unwary comfortable in
forgetting that sword of Hatred is still being sharpened, and that it will
rise again to hack at our necks, to try and sever us from our security
blanket and reign Fear and Intimidation upon us when we least expect it.
Perhaps now more than ever we need to reconsider
our vow to become a Parent of Vigilance, a Citizen of Vigilance, a Love
One of Vigilance.
The terror of life continues, even if the
Terrorists have slipped into the shadows of our memories. The
child who feels alienated and afraid still cowers in the bed at night,
afraid of bogeymen of all sizes and shapes.
Divorces still threaten the security of a child's
domestic foundations, and human neglect and oversight of a child's thirst
to be loved unconditionally have not slinked their way out of the
A Parent of Vigilance is more than a person who
worries about Terrorists running up to his or her door with a satchel
charge, bent on destroying a particular home. It is a
person who believes that Terrorism is about how a child deals with the
present day peaks and valleys of human emotion, and is willing to
sacrifice the time and attention necessary to comfort the child's Fears,
Intimidations and Complacencies.
know how easy it is to forget, and I write about Vigilance every
day. For a number of weeks I found myself not wearing
my Semper Vigilantes arm band. I would "forget it,"
or "misplace it," and then not make it a priority
that I remember publicly the importance of Nine Eleven.
I have started to wear it again.
It is my symbol of personal Vigilance not just regarding Nine
Eleven, but in dealing with life's daily challenges, its constant
obstacles that need to be overcome, and its rich fruits that
await those willing to take action in the face of Complacency.
Think about the Pledge of Vigilance.
How can it help you protect the security of your own life, and
the life of others? How can it remind you that Terrorism
begins within, and by fighting the temptations it exerts, you
can live a better, happier life one day at a time.
I am rekindling my Vigilance.
I'm going to buy a new flag and not let the shredded, tattered
flag of Vigilance turn into a worn rag.
To Feb. 25--Blood On The Totem Pole--Vigilance And Sharp Knives
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