Article OverviewPart V of V Legends of Vigilance.  If you haven't read the first four parts, use the links below to go the ones you haven't read yet.  On this final night, Christmas Eve, the children of the Land of Prosperity learn how the parts of Vigilance become the whole of Vigilance.  They become the Youngest Sentinels of Vigilance, a gift that they give themselves and all the Children's Children's Children.
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Wednesday--December 24, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 833
The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance--Part V of V
"Eve Of The Youngest Sentinels of Vigilance"

Cliff McKenzie

GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Dec. 24, 2003 -- It was the Eve of Christmas for many of the children, and the Spirit of the Holiday for others who embraced different beliefs in the Land of Prosperity.   The children filled the Great Hall with laughter and giggles, joyously sipping hot chocolate and chewing on the popcorn balls laced with caramel to hold the white kernel puffs in tight compact.

The Sentinel of Vigilance called the children for another story

The Sentinel of Vigilance Chair

       The Sentinel of Vigilance sat in his wondrous redwood chair, the polished grains of the wood hundreds of years old glistening as the firelight danced over its surface like magic elves celebrating Christmas Eve and the end of a long year of preparing toys and joy for the children of the world.
        Twirling his long white beard, speckled with gray, the Sentinel beckoned the children to fall silent as he spoke.   They nestled cross-legged next to one another around him on the wooden oak floor, leaning forward as they munched on the popcorn balls and took little slurping sips of the steaming chocolate.

"The greatest gift of Vigilance banished the Beast..."

        "Tonight, we talk about the greatest gift of Vigilance the Stranger gave the people of the Land of Poverty.  That gift changed forever their way of life.  It banished the Beast of Terror and all his Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, replacing it with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children.  Those children, Little Ones, are you, your brothers and sisters, your cousins, your friends.   Look around, Little Ones, at the great gift of happiness that came to you that night."
       The children looked at their friends.  Some hugged, others shook hands.   Their eyes were alive, gleaming in the firelight.  Their tummies were full, their cheeks rosy.  Around the room stood and sat the Parents and Grandparents and Loved Ones of Vigilance.    They were smiling too.
        "What was the final gift, Sentinel?"   A little girl with a popcorn ball in one hand and a half-empty cup of hot chocolate in the other, tilted her head as she asked the question.   Her mother had French braided her hair atop her head, and she wore tiny Christmas bell earrings that swayed like the pendulum of a grandfather clock as she moved her head from side to side.
       "Well," mused the Sentinel, "the Stranger had brought the Three Secrets of Vigilance to the people.  He brought them Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for future generations.   These were the tools to battle the Beast of Terror's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   They were like..." he paused as thought to capture an elusive thought..."ah, they were like making a quilt.   They were three different pieces of cloth.   They were wonderful by themselves, pretty and colorful indeed as patches of cloth, but, until they were sewn together as one, they served no common use.    So the Sentinel showed them how to weave the three Secrets of Vigilance into one quilt.  He gave them the needle and threads necessary to bind Courage to Conviction and Conviction to Right Action so the three were forever bound into one Blanket of Vigilance." 

"Your fingerprints prove you are special from all others who have ever been..."

       "He taught them to sew?"  Timmy cocked his head as he posed the question.
       "In a matter of saying, yes.   You see, we are all individuals.   Here, each of you, look at your thumbs.   If you look closely you will see that each of you is different from the other.  No one fingerprint is like another.   It means you are unique, special, different from all others who have ever been, or ever will be."
        "Does that mean I am special?"   The Little One with the popcorn ball and Christmas earrings smiled up at the Sentinel.
       "It means every one of you is special that you are the most special person in the world.   The color of your skin might be different, the shape of your nose or cheeks might be slightly different, the color of your eyes might vary, your religions and beliefs might be slightly different, but deep in the marrow of your hearts, deep in the hollow of your souls, you are all the same.  You are wonderful beings carved from the same trunk of the same tree.  You are sprouts from one great seed that spread over this earth long ago into many different lands with many different cultures and ways of life.   You are life.   You are the quilts of the blanket, the pieces that make up the whole.   And, together, you are more powerful than if you were by yourself.  Here, let me show you.    Little One, come here."

The children chewed on popcorn balls

    The Sentinel motioned for the girl with the Christmas earrings to come forward.   She handed her popcorn ball to her brother, set down her chocolate, and made her way next to the Sentinel.
       "I have these toothpicks," the Sentinel said fishing into his pocket.   "Here is one.  Face everyone and break it in two."
       "That's easy," the Little One smiled.
       She held up the toothpick for all to see and easily snapped it.
       "Excellent," said the Sentinel.   "Now, try two of them."  He gave her two this time.  She grimaced a little, but broke the two to the cheers of the group.
       "Now, try three."   This time the girl worked harder, her face tightening as she finally snapped the three.

"In Unity is Strength..."

       "Now, I have put ten toothpicks together.   Each is as fragile as the other, but together they form a bond, a union that is stronger than any part.   Try and break these."
       Oh, the Little One tried.  She bent and bent, her face becoming red with effort, but to no avail, the bunch of toothpicks remained intact.
       "They are much too strong," she exclaimed.  "I can't do it."
       "Thank you, Little One."  The Sentinel patted her on the head and took nine of the toothpicks and left her one.  "You'll need this to get the popcorn from your teeth," he laughed.
        "Thank you," she said, giggling, wending her way back to her seat.

The Beast wants us all to live in the shadow of his wings

       "You see, children, the Beast of Terror tries to break us all down one at a time.   If you are filled with Fear or Intimidated by others and you keep it a secret, then Complacency will set in.  You will want to hide from the world.   The Beast wants us all to live in the shadow of his dark wings, to cringe when we hear his footsteps, and to do nothing but accept his power over us.    We are one stick, one toothpick that he hopes to break easily.   And, that's what the Stranger told the people of the Land of Poverty.  If they didn't come together and bundle themselves up as one body made of many different ones, the Beast's Fear might overpower their individual Courage over time.  The Beast's Intimidation might wear down their Conviction one-on-one.  And, if they felt they couldn't win for trying, they might give up and let Complacency sweep over them where they would do nothing but accept their lot in life.     The Sentinel asked them:  Do you want to risk the future of your children by fighting the Beast alone?  Or, are you ready and willing to protect your children and your Children's Children's Children by becoming one quilt, sewn together by a common thread, the Thread of Vigilance?    Guess what your great, great, great grandparents answered, Children?" 

"The Pledge of Vigilance is like a quilt"

          "They wanted to sew the quilt," came one reply.  "They wanted to be a bunch of toothpicks not just one," came another.   "They wanted to protect us so they all joined hands."
         "You're all correct," said the Sentinel.  "They all agreed to work together.   So the Stranger took out a pen and dabbed it in an inkwell.  He took a piece of paper and wrote on it."
         "What did he write, Sentinel?"
         "He wrote the Pledge of Vigilance.   It was a vow the parents, grandparents, citizens and loved ones of the Land took to fight Fear with Courage, to battle Intimidation with Conviction, and to always take the Right Action for the children's benefit--all children, of all time--rather than become Complacent.
         "They signed the Pledge and then all took a vow to protect not only their own children, but their neighbor's children, and the Children's Children's Children's.   They stopped seeing things as they were, and began to see them as they could be.   For some, it was very hard.   They were hungry and afraid of the Beast.  They weren't sure they could overcome their Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.  And that's where the others came in.  Like the many toothpicks, the whole was stronger than the parts.   People helped other people remember that together they were stronger than any Beast of any time."
       "How did they remember to not forget?"  asked Timmy.  "Sometimes I try to not be afraid, but then I forget and am afraid again?"
        "First, each one wrote out his or her own Pledge of Vigilance and signed it.   Each hung the Pledge in kitchen of their house so they would see it every day and every night.   And, they applied the One Percent Anti-Beast Thinking System."
         "What's that, Sentinel."  

"Fear = the boogeyman in the dark..."

         "It was very simple.   The Stranger told them that when they felt Fear or Intimidation or Complacency, to muster up just One Percent more Courage, Conviction or Right Actions than Fear, Intimidation or Complacency.    You see, Fear is a thought.  It's not real.  It's like the boogeyman in the dark.   Fear is our reaction to something.  It isn't real.  We think it is.   I can leap out of the bushes and scare people, but some won't be scared.  Some will see its only me and not a monster and laugh.  Why?  Because they have trained themselves that Fear blinds us to Truth.   Fear is a mask.   The same with Intimidation.   People who bully us around only bully us because we let them.   When someone hurts our feelings, it is because we let them hurt our feelings.  Our feelings belong to us.  Think about it.   What if the Beast made you think your feelings were hurt so you would be sad.  The Beast likes it when you are sad, you know.  Because then you become Complacent.  You give up trying.   Well, if you think One Percent more Courage than Fear, One Percent more Conviction than Intimidation, and One Percent more Right Action than Complacency--then the Beast is "rubber and you're glue and everything he tries to make you feel bounces off you and sticks on him...  Get the idea?"
          "Yeah.   When I feel bad I know it's the Beast trying to get me to think I'm not special!"
          "That's right, Timmy."
         "And the Pledge of Vigilance is about reminding us each and every day, and sometimes lots of times during the day, that we are special.  But more important than we being special are the special children of the future.   If we act and do things for the future of all the children, then we'll act and do the right things.    If you really care about other children, you'll know what to do to make yourself stronger than any Beast of Terror.   And that's what the Pledge of Vigilance did for the people of the Land of Poverty.  They took the Pledge together, and then daily reminded themselves of it.    They became one blanket, the Parents of Vigilance, bound together with the Grandparents of Vigilance, bound together with the Brothers and Sisters of Vigilance, bound together with the Uncles and Aunts and Cousins of Vigilance, bound together by the Loved Ones and Citizens of Vigilance.   They became a pile of toothpicks the Beast of Terror couldn't break.  And, if someone felt Fear, Intimidation or Complacency, they shared those feelings with someone else and asked for help to build their Courage, Conviction and take the Right Actions for future generations.  It worked. Look around you."

Taking the Pledge of Vigilance reminds us children are special

           The children looked about the room.  It was bubbling with life, smiles, warmth, happiness.
           "After the Stranger gave them the Pledge of Vigilance and they had all vowed to it, he began to leave.  The people begged him to stay, but he told them the Land of Prosperity was theirs, not his.   He told them it was up to them to stand up to the Beast of Terror as Parents of Vigilance, and that they had much more power to achieve that goal than he had.   And so he walked off to the horizon."
         "What did the people do, Sentinel?"
         "They went to their homes and posted the Pledge of Vigilance.  They began to say it each and every day.  Slowly, the Beast of Terror found he couldn't strike Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into the people as he had before.   The shadows from his wings began to shrink into sunlight.   People no longer cowered before him, for the Beast got smaller each day until he was the size of an ant.  The trees grew back lush and green.  The fields sprouted flowers, birds sang and the sun shined so brightly that the chill of the Beast evaporated from the soil and souls of everything and everyone."
         "And people were happy!"
        "Yes, but not just happy.   They were Vigilantly Happy.  They knew the Beast could return.  They knew he could grow back into a monster controlling their lives, so they all said the Pledge of Vigilance each night and each morning.    They taught their children to respect the Beast of Terror not fear him.   See, we all have Fear, we all get Intimidated and we all get Complacent.  We are humans.   We have feelings.   But what we do with those feelings is what the Stranger reminded us was important.   Each of you children can grow up to be Sentinels of Vigilance. 

"The Youngest Sentinels of Vigilance were a unified force against the Beast of Terror"

         You can protect your special nature as a unique person by not letting the Beast try to turn your life into a Land of Poverty.  You can live in the Land of Prosperity if you are Vigilant.   And, you can stay there.   All you have to remember is that together we are stronger than apart.  Now, children, let's all stand and form a circle with our parents, grandparents and loved ones.   Let's recite the Pledge of Vigilance, and consider it the greatest gift we can have this holiday--a gift we give to ourselves and to all the children of all times."
            The Sentinel took the hand of a little boy on one side and a little girl on the other.  The room was full of people, big and small, forming a giant circle.   "Okay, boys and girls, you start the Pledge."
            And with that suggestion, the little Voices began to Pledge their Vigilance against Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, and they offered that Pledge to the Children's Children's Children.    They were one now, on the Eve of Christmas.  They were one body, one soul, one unified force against the Beast of Terror.  They were the Youngest Sentinels of Vigilance.
(For print-friendly version if Part V of V, click here

Dec. 23--The Legend Of Christmas Vigilance: Part IV of V

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