March 31, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 201
Happy Easter To All
Sentinels Of Vigilance
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 31--Happy Easter--especially
to all the Sentinels of Vigilance.
I will keep
this message short and sweet.
I went to our local church vigil. It included the
baptism of an older woman, probably in her late fifties or early
was in both English and Spanish, as the local Catholic Church
caters to a large Hispanic congregation.
is located a few blocks from our apartment in the East Village
of New York City. Members of the Church had
walked en masse through the streets to commemorate Good Friday,
a parade of constituents with a sound truck behind them, stopping
to pray at certain selected sites. I watched them go by
my street from the window of our 5th story apartment.
Eve was the vigil. Mildred, the woman who was being baptized,
wore white. She looked magnificent--the innocence of her
soul seemed to radiate through all of her being.
dimmed all the lights and we rose and went outside the Church
to light our individual candles from the Paschal Candle,
a ceremony signifying the rebirth of Jesus. Parishioners
took the flame and lit one another's candles, passing the light
from its sacred source onto those behind them.
and I were near the rear of the procession. As we
stepped outside the rear entrance into the cool night air, we
walked in single file following the priest back into church's
Passersby on the busy
street looked at us, a long line of men, women and some children,
all carrying candles, signifying an ancient ceremony of honoring
the resurrection of the "lost soul."
in the line, I looked up.
shafts of light spearing up from beacons at the World Trade
Center, symbolic of a memorial for the slain victims of Nine
Eleven, rose up through the night and were diffused against
the underbelly of a cloud layer.
at the two lights, the Shafts of Vigilance, and thought for
a moment about all the people who had given their lives that
day as reminders to us to be Vigilant, to not let ourselves
be surprised again by Terrorism or any of its countless children.
I raised my flickering candle up over my head, pointing it in
the direction of the two shafts of light growing up from Ground
Zero. I asked my wife and daughter to salute the Sentinels
of Vigilance in the same manner.
The three of us stood for a solitary moment, our flickering
candle flames bent by the light breeze as though each was bowing
before the Altar of Vigilance, offering Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency to be replaced by Courage, Conviction and Action.
I thought about resurrection. I thought about the
eighty-different nations represented by those who had died that
day. I thought about the Christians, Jews, Buddhists,
Islamic, Atheists and Agnostics who had died that day.
I knew they had been resurrected from their bodies upon death.
I knew their souls were there, captured in the light of the
memorial, standing guard, watching, reminding all of us that
they died for us, they died so we might live.
I thought of Jesus. I thought of his death as a symbol
of Vigilance. That his death and resurrection was
not unlike those of September 11.
I decided to make the vigil one of Vigilance.
I decided that I would see in Mildred's baptism, the renewal
of my faith and belief in the Sentinels of Vigilance, in their
purpose of standing guard over Terrorism.
When the ceremony was over, I snuffed my candle and kept it.
I decided I would light it on the 11th of each month, as a reminder
that there is life after death--but during life, one must be
Vigilant to remember that that Terrorism's goal was to snuff
out that life with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
My candle light would shine light on these three Beasts of Vigilance.
And in their place would stand the Shields of Vigilance--Courage,
Conviction and Action.
Go To Mar. 30--Kiss Of Terrorism
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