ZERO PLUS 1105 DAYS,--New York, NY, Tuesday,
September 21, 2004--I
awaken between 4 and 5 a.m. most mornings, compelled to write
about battling the Beast of Terrorism.
all started for me on September 11, 2001, when I was at Ground
Zero that horrible day of infamy and witnessed the wanton
destruction of innocent lives by a group of Terrorists bent
on driving America and the world into caves of Fear, Intimidation
my head out my window to do a "weather check"
it isn't odd that when I stuck my head out my apartment window
to check the weather--my unscientific but reliable measure
of whether or not I should dress warm or not or carry an umbrella--that
I heard the sweet sound of silver F-14s streaking through
the New York City sky.
are prowling. German Shepherds used to protect the flock of
sheep had one mission--to drive the wolves away. They skulked
around the flock, heads lowered, eyes peeled, ears perked
to catch the scent, sound or movement of a wolf eager to snatch
a lamb for dinner.
New York City the F-14s search the skies for wolves above,
such as the pack that assaulted the World Trade Center more
than 1,000 days ago. They are also ready to assault any attempt
to breech the land by water.
the attacks on the World Trade Center, the familiar sounds
of the F-14s engines screaming high above the city was as
comforting as the song of the nightingale. For those of us
who were still shell shocked, the roar of engines eagling
above gave a sense of security that our children and grandchildren,
our loved ones, might be just a little safer.
F-14s, however, are a facade for New Yorkers. They haven't
come to protect us, but are here as royal guards for the President
of the United States, and perhaps his contender, Mr. Kerry.
Both candidates are in town to throw spears at one another.
Each is claiming he is the better Sentinel of Vigilance, more
worthy than the other to protect us from the harms that go
bump in the night.
seems to me always unfair that one citizen of this nation
deserves a flock of F-14s when eight million don't, but then
I forget that RHIP--rank has it's privileges.
is some folly, I think, in the righteous presumption that
one man or woman has the power to protect us all from Terrorism,
whether he or she be Democrat or Republican or some bizarre
offshoot touting knowledge and wisdom beyond that of a dedicated
mother or father, grandparent, or group of loved ones.
the jets I felt like the citizens of Rome when the soldiers
marched through their streets
and power absurdities aside, I still relax when I hear the
wings of the jets slicing through the sky, as must have the
citizens of war-torn towns centuries ago felt relaxed when
the legions of Roman soldiers dedicated to keep their towns
safe from marauders marched through the streets, six thousand
heels hitting the cobblestones in unison, forming a symphonic
thunder of Vigilance that while tertiary in nature, appeased
the fret and worry for a brief moment as they passed through.
F-14s are all show for political kings....
know the F-14s are all show and no go. They circle and soar
without real consequence, for despite their hawking sorties
above the city planes fly all day long down and up the Hudson
River and any one could in a moment turn and plow a load of
explosive cargo into Wall Street before the jets could respond.
like perfume on a hog, there is an intoxication, a seduction
of sounds that quell the disruptive spirit, lulls the troubled
heart, and sirens the soul into a near state of Complacency
as the jets scream overhead. I feel a relaxing of the hilt
of the Sword of Vigilance rests heavy my hand after holding
it aloft for three years.
am not unlike so many. I love the idea that someone up there
is looking out for me, even though I know it's not true. The
pilots' mission is to protect the king, not me.
am, as the word goes, dispensible. The king, it is presumed,
no go for the grandkids
we live in a world where the heads of state cling to an archaic
structure that makes the people think whomever is the crowned
leader--whether that crown is placed upon their own head or
by the people--has the interests of the children's children's
children at hand.
cannot be true, for if it were, these leaders would couch
each word in relation to future generations, and explain the
benefits of decisions or proposals in light of the future
security of the rights of the parents' grandchildrens' grandchildren.
words do not fall off the lips of the leaders. China's new
leader, the first non-violent transition of power since Mao-Tse
Tung, Mr. Hu, still endorses, however tacitly, the killing
of baby girls in his country to keep the population in check.
forget the realities of a world that refuses to take an individual
Vow of Vigilance, to assume Parental Leadership, and listen
to the F-14s gutteral growl as they arc around the island
of Manhattan, displaying once again the falsification that
security starts from the top down rather than the bottom up.
am human. I want to drop the Sword of Vigilance and believe
that someone else will protect my family, my loved ones, my
children, my grandchildren.
deep down in the rusty marrow of my aging bones, I know better.
I know that when the attacks come the mass will stampede.
And the wolves will count on the herd to bolt, to trample
itself so that the weak will be exposed and the wolves can
pick them off.
will count on the herd to bolt and they can pick off
but the sounds of the F-14s are intoxicating, like sipping
too much wine on a beautiful night, the muscles of one's mind
relax and soften, the sinew in the forearm relaxes as the
hilt of the Sword of Vigilance droops and the fingers, once
firmly knotted, begin to open in somnolent seduction to the
wish that someone else take charge of the future by assuring
the security of the present.
a moment this morning I fell victim to the belief in the F-14's.
Then I heard the sirens scream.
exists in the streets of life, where the parents must hold
the hands of their children crossing streets, and be wary
as to whom they allow to watch over their wards.
comes down to individual and family to guard the children's
safety, not the kings or the kings' royal guards.
we must be our own F-14s
we must be our own F-14s.
for a brief moment this morning, I relaxed in the delusion
that maybe the role of protecting the future wasn't mine.
I sobered up.
took my Vow of Vigilance. I grabbed the hilt of my Sword of
Vigilance and began to sniff the air and cock my ears and
radar with my eyes the horizons.
delusion was sweet, but not real. What is real is my taking
the Pledge of Vigilance each day, and realizing that my children
and grandchildren trust me, not the king.
rests the reason my Sword of Vigilance isn't as heavy as I