GROUND ZERO PLUS 1053
DAYS--New York, NY, July 29, 2004--It
is hard to imagine the heartbeats of the dead. But if you listen
hard, you can hear them.
By all scientific and physiological laws the
heart stops beating to signal death. Blood, the fuel that runs
through the pipeline of the body, stops feeding the cells nourishment.
Starving, the brain suffocates. It runs out
of gas when the heart stops. Electricity snapping from synapse
to synapse to create brain activity flickers like a choking
candle void of oxygen until it finally futile gasps end in a
flatline representing "no life."
are those, like myself, who refuse to believe the"DEAD"
A pronouncement of "DEATH" is administered.
Tears flow. Graves are dug. Life is buried into the womb of
the earth; the flesh is rejoined to its original state, mulch.
But the soul! Ah, the soul!
There are those, like myself, who refuse to
believe the "DEAD" are "dead."
We, whoever "we" are, believe there
is something far more powerful about human existence than our
blood and bones and flesh. This is not a religious belief per
se but a spiritual one.
If it is true that nothing is created or destroyed,
that all things simply come and go in different shapes and forms,
majestically orchestrated over billions of years of evolutionary
expansion, then, while the human body may be crushed to death
under the rubble of millions of pounds of steel and concrete
from a Terrorist attack, the spirits of those who died, the
molecular or atomic DNA of their existence, their purpose in
life and for life, cannot be destroyed. In some boundless manner,
the essence of those who died remain in some structure, fingerprints
of the past embossed upon the present and signposting the future.
The hearts of the Souls of Vigilance--those
2,792 who have been identified as victims of the World Trade
Center attack--have not skipped a beat since life was crushed
from their physical beings. Neither have the 124 from the Pentagon,
or the 40 aboard the United Flight that crashed in Shanksville,
Pa that fateful day.
Here it is 1082 days from Ground Zero. I can
still hear the beats of the hearts of those who died, just as
I can hear their screams as they fell or jumped from a quarter
mile high that morning to hasten death. They live as Sentinels
of Vigilance, invisible to those who don't believe in anything
but the physical. They stand alert and proud in a Circle of
Vigilance hovering over Ground Zero, warning the Beast of Terror
that he is not free to move about. That he is being hunted,
exposed and will one day be terminated.
In a single day, a Sentinel of Vigilance enjoys
110,000 heartbeats. In a month, 2.6 million. In a year, more
than 31.6 million. The sounds of those heartbeats pound into
the ears of the Beast of Terror who tries to stuff cotton in
people's ears so they will not hear them. The Beast hopes they
will fall Complacent to their own duty and responsibility to
promote Vigilance, to monitor it at home, to defend it so that
it might be available to the Children's Children's Children.
are quick to grow deaf to the daily 333 million heartbeats
of the Sentinels of Vigilance
The sounds of the combined heartbeats of all
3,030 Sentinels of Vigilance who died in the combined attack
on the WTC, Pentagon and aboard United Fight 93 that crashed
in Shanksville represents 333 million per day, and 121 billion
We are quick to grow deaf to these heartbeats.
We are quick to bury the dead. We are quick
to think they have "passed" and no longer "exist"
in a form we can recognize--one subject to touch and feel.
Yet they do live on. One only has to feast
his or her eyes on a monument of any nature depicting the struggle
of humanity to overcome Terrorism of all various sizes and shapes
to understand that the memory of Vigilance never dies.
The statue of Blind Justice is but one small
example. She stands with a blindfold holding a scale--a symbol
of measuring right versus wrong on the facts not on opinion.
To the casual passerby, she is only a statue, a decorative symbol.
But to one who believes in "justice," and is a student
of all human history, he or she knows she is as alive as though
her marble or plaster were warm flesh and blood, and such a
person can hear the heartbeat of the Spirit of Justice beating
as loudly through the inanimate composition as if it were a
person hooked to an echo chamber and the pulse of the blood
gushing and rushing was being broadcast in stereo, surround
Justice is an example of life
The music lover who sits at the foot of a statue
of Mozart or Beethoven can hear the scratch of the great composers'
quills scribing musical notes that will ring forever in the
ears and strike the hearts of millions upon millions throughout
time eternal. Such a statue is not icy cold marble to an aficionado
of great music, but warm and pulsing, as though it were about
to vibrate off its pedestal and walk triumphant.
Heartbeats? Are they real?
Vigilance is about seeing into the future through
the lens of the past. It is about protecting the children. A
mother pauses with her child before crossing the street even
if she doesn't see a car coming. In her mind, there is "always"
a car coming even if she doesn't see one at that precise moment.
The heartbeats of those who died on September
cannot be deadened by time. If we are truly Vigilant, then we
must turn up the volume as time passes, for the distance between
the reality of what happened on September 11, 2001 and the desire
to "go on with life as normal" tends to weaken the
signal of the Sentinels of Vigilance. One day, if we are not
cautious, we will no longer hear the heartbeats of the thousands
who died that day warning us to be Semper Vigilantes--Always
for the heartbeats of those who died on Nine-Eleven
That's why today when I hear my heartbeat as
I climb the fifty-nine stairs to my apartment, I hear not just
the beat of my own heart, but the chorus of those who died on
Nine Eleven chanting that we must not concede to Complacency,
that we must take the Pledge of Vigilance daily in our lives
as a tool to protect our children from all the various nefarious
forms of Terrorism. It is the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency
that settles in and clogs our ears from hearing the beating
of the Sentinels of Vigilance's hearts.
Sometimes I put my ear to my two-year-old grandson's
chest and listen to his heart. It reminds me that I am here
today as a Sentinel, a living one, who pays homage to the sounds
of the heartbeats of my brothers and sisters who might have
physically died on September 11, 2001, but whose real life continues
as a drumbeat, a signal that I should never forget why they
When I do not forget, they come to life.
And their heartbeats ring like thousands of
bells, letting me know I am not alone in my quest for Vigilance.
To: July 28 "Fear Of Falling From The Grace Of The Sentinels
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