March 29, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 199
"I Can See Everything!"
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 29--Ever wonder if what
you believe is really true? I do. And,
I'm always amazed when I find that what I think or what I believe,
turns out to be a fact.
I had such experience yesterday
when I lifted my three-year-old granddaughter up on my shoulders
as we exited the subway. It was "kid's day,"
and my wife took Matt and Sarah to see the new Peter Pan movie,
Return To Never Land. Part of the journey
included a stop by Toys R Us in Times Square where we rode the
in-store Ferris Wheel and played with Thomas Train. The
giant toy store has a huge Thomas Train display for kids large
enough to fill an entire room.
When the two kids are with us, I let Sarah, the younger, ride
on G-Pa's shoulders. Matt either skips alongside or holds
my hand or his G-Ma's. The day before, I had written
about "Riding On The Shoulders Of Vigilance,"
extolling the wonderment of being a Sentinel of Vigilance for
As a writer, I sometimes wonder
if I "report" the truth or "manufacture it"
to meet my agenda. Good writing requires one show
both sides of the coin so readers can make up their minds and
not feel like the writer is jamming his or her opinion down
the reader's mouth.
I had some of those thoughts after
publishing the "Shoulders Of Vigilance" story--would
all children see magic as Matt had? Would anyone
who let a child ride atop their shoulders be connected to that
child in a unique way--as the lighthouse is to the light that
shines far out to sea?
Intuitively, I knew it was true that
letting a child ride up on your shoulders gave that child a
powerful vista on the world, but validating it would be a matter
of readership. Would people write me and say, "Hey,
Cliff. I put my child on my shoulders and thought of being
a Sentinel of Vigilance--and by golly, it worked."
My verification came when I hoisted
Sarah up on my shoulders.
As she settled down, her legs dangling
on my chest, her hands clutching my forehead, she let out this
loud exclamation: "I can see everything!"
It was a squeal of joy. It was
so loud people around us looked up and smiled.
"I can see everything!"
I almost stopped in my tracks, but
one cannot stop in the middle of a subway entrance because the
herds of people rushing to their trains will consider you an
obstacle and, regardless of child on shoulders or not, remove
you from their path. So I crossed the street, the happy
Sarah bouncing and scratching my head as I walked.
"Had the three-year-old read yesterday's
web page," I thought. "Was she set up to say
those words just to reinforce my ego?"
I thought a lot of thoughts, and then
began to point out things, reminding myself that I wasn't just
a vehicle for Sarah, but a guide.
"See the ivy on the tree, Sarah.
It grows up"
"See the shoe on top of the awning?
What do you think, Sarah, is somebody walking around with only
"See the buds on the tree limb?
They are babies. The tree is the mommy.
The will come to life in just a little while. Guess what's
in those buds, Sarah?"
I caught myself firing off lots
of questions, pointing out countless little things that normally
might be overlooked.
Sarah's words: "I
can see everything!" meant more to me than a thousand replies
from the readers of the website, for her happy, screeching exclamation
was a validation that I was providing her a vista of the world
every child deserves--a view from the Shoulders of Love.
I was proud to be her Sentinel
of Vigilance. Atop my shoulders, she was not just a three-year-old,
she was the Queen of Courage, the Princess of Conviction, the
Amazon of Action.
at Toys R Us, when we took the kids to the giant dinosaur that
towers twenty feet high and roars as its head and eyes move
about, and it's tail swings as though preparing to leap off
its mechanical stand, Sarah blurted out: "I'm not
afraid, G-Pa! I'm brave!"
She then walked up to the dinosaur,
stretched on her tiptoes, and touched the replica of the T-Rex's
foot to show her power over her fear. A week earlier she
hid behind the displays, cowering, and no amount of coaching
could lure her out so I could get a picture of her by the giant
Was it the riding on the shoulders,
I thought, that brought about the transformation? Was
being above the crowd something that strengthened her character,
her resolve to fight Terrorism's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency?
I wish I could affirm that to win the battle against Terrorism
it was a simple matter of letting a child ride on the shoulders
of a loved one--but that would be too simplistic. I can
offer though, that riding high must add to a child's courage,
must give a child a sense of empowerment over Fear, Intimidation
When a three-year-old exclaims:
"I can see everything," it suggests to me the child
is saying: "I can do anything...I can overcome any
obstacle, problem, challenge...if I have others to help hoist
me over them...others to coach me...others to point out the
best paths...others to be my spotter in case I fall and right
me so I can face new challenges knowing I am not alone...that
I don't have to walk the world as a child, swallowed in a world
that towers above me...a world full of scary things and countless
shadows dwarfing me!"
I felt those feelings yesterday--the
feelings of a man, a father, a grandfather, a Sentinel of Vigilance
who was being validated by his grandchild that caring for what
a child thinks, and showing a child the world from other perspectives,
only adds to the sinew of the child's soul--strengthens it,
prepares it to handle the unexpected, to battle the many Terrorisms
that await the child on life's journey.
"I can see everything!"
Yes, I thought, yes you can when you
rise above the Terror of blindness, and open the Eyes of Vigilance.
If you haven't yet, take the Pledge
of Vigilance. You can begin by hoisting a child
on your shoulders and asking the child--"What do you see?"
Hopefully, the child will respond:
"I see everything!"
Go To Mar. 28--Riding On The Shoulders