Article Overview:   Pvt. Steele is an Effigy of Vigilance.  He hangs on a church in France, a symbol of his willingness to die to liberate a land from the Beast of Terror.  In Iraq, there is another Effigy of Vigilance.  It is the bed where Pvt. Jessica Lynch was held captive by Saddam Hussein's soldiers.   As D-Day approaches, we need to all salute the Effigies of Vigilance.


Thursday--June 5, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 631
American Hangs In Effigy Of Vigilance In France
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

  GROUND ZER0, New York, New York--June 5, 2003-- John Steele hangs in effigy in Ste. Mere Eglise, France.   He hangs on a small parish church, a symbol not of the rift or friction between the U.S. and France, but instead as a Sentinel of Vigilance, one of tens of thousands of Americans who offered their lives to free France from the Beast of Terror.

The church in Sainte Mere Elise is  situated in the "Place du 6 Juin" where Pvt. John Steele hangs in effigy

     Today, amidst acerbic comments and angst between France and the United States over the lack of France's support of the Iraq war, John Steele hangs 24 hours a day on the steeple of the small village church in Ste Mere Eglise, current population 1,585, where 13,000 airborne soldiers dropped from the sky on the early morning of June 6, as part of the D-Day invasion 59 years ago that liberated France from the grips of Nazi German invaders.
      Private Steele, famous because of the movie The Longest Day, leaped from one of 880 transport planes at 01.30 (military hours 1:30 a.m.) on June 6, 1944.   Unfortunately, a vast majority of the 82nd Airborne troops didn't land on intended targets, but were scattered over the countryside.
      Private Steele's parachute came down on the church steeple as parts of the village burned, illuminating him and other paratroopers who found themselves exposed to German defenders.
      According to reports, Steele frantically tried to cut his parachute shrouds but the knife slipped from his hands.  Below, he witnessed his fellow paratroopers being shot as they hung from telephone poles or landed amidst German troops.
      Germans below Steele shot him in the foot.   Steele feigned he was dead, slumping in the harness.   He hung from the church rooftop for two hours, located near the belfry.   The church bells rang loudly, signaling the invasion.   Steele was deafened by the continuous ringing.  He watched in horror as his fellow soldiers were executed as they became entangled.
      Eventually, he was cut down by German soldiers, captured, then as American troops overran the village, was freed.  Steele died in 1969.

      To memorialize the dramatic and emotional event of France's liberation from Hitler's tyranny, two U.S. airborne museums and an American war cemetery are located nearby.   At Colville-sur-Mer, the graves of 9,386 U.S. soldiers, plus another 1,000 who are not identified, remind the people of St. Mere Eglise and the world of the sacrifice America made that day to allow France the right to freedom.
      That freedom includes the right to reject supporting America in a war against Iraq.  It is the same freedom that allows American citizens the right to disagree with its government, and to speak out against issues they oppose.
       Despite all the polemics of war, there is no question that in the long run--when measured in relation to the benefits of the Children's Children's Children--three generations from any event, a total of nearly 100 years--that when despotic behavior and tyrannical, brutal leadership is quashed, freedom of various degrees sprout from the turmoil.
       Germany's defeat in WWII was its ultimate victory.   Today, the German state is strong, viable, proud.    So is France's.

On one side of the  Korea's DMZ freedom prevails while on the other side poverty is rampant

      South Korea stands today as a symbol of what freedom has offered citizens of that divided country, while just across the DMZ, the other half of that nation boils grass to eat as its despotic leader wallows in a Playboy lifestyle, and threatens the world with a thirst to manufacture nuclear weapons.
       Even Vietnam, a war lost, is a victory of sorts.
       Slowly, that nation is changing, becoming more and more a part of a world of peace and freedom, and while still ruled by a central government that uses force to restrain its citizen's rights, is beginning to become more democratic, more integrated with the world of "liberation."
       In a way, we could hang effigies of Pvt. Steele from the roofs of countless edifices around the world, symbols of America's willingness--despite all its international and domestic critics--to spill its blood for the right of others to be free.
       Iraq's Pvt. Steele was Pvt. Jessica Lynch, the 19-year-old woman soldier who was wounded and captured by Iraqi's in the early stages of the war, then rescued by Special Operations forces from an enemy hospital.
       Tomorrow is the official 59th Anniversary of D-Day.   In a way, it is improperly named.  It should be renamed Vigilance Day.
        Americans plus other allies dedicated to securing the freedom of the oppressed, offered their lives for people of other lands so that one day they might be free from the Beast of Terror's Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.

Iraq's Pvt. Steele was Pvt. Jessica Lynch

        Today, pundits attack America's unilateral action against Saddam Hussein.   Many are seeking to soil the blood soaked in Iraqi's sands by American and allied forces as violating international law by using Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) as a gambit to attack and destroy one of the world's worse tyrannical leaders.    They attempt to undercut the value and veracity of the United States to fight against the Beast of Terror.   
        One might think they were allies of the Beast, Monday quarterbacking the reasons why we shouldn't have freed more 27 million people from such leadership while justifying their own Complacency, their own resolute selfishness to avoid confrontation with the Beast.
        Perhaps these people should make a trip to the small French village of St. Mere Eglise and stand under the figure of Pvt. Steele and stare up at his body hanging from the roof of the church.
        Then, perhaps they ought to go to the Iraqi hospital where Pvt. Jessica Lynch was held captive, and stare at the empty bed where she lay broken and wounded, suffering God-knows what.
         Of course, there are the shocking and horrible pictures of the Americans held captive by the Iraqis--young men and women of different colors, ethnicity, religious and cultural beliefs, but all bound to a single understanding that freedom is not cheap.
        Sometimes, it cost one's life.
        As the D-Day Anniversary approaches, perhaps we all need to think in terms of the Principles of Vigilance.
       Perhaps we need to think in terms of Pvt. Steele and Pvt. Lynch, and look up at young Americans willing to go tens of thousands of miles to die for others' right to be free, their right to protest, their right to reject or embrace thoughts and beliefs of their own without threat of being killed or shot because of their dissent.
        Vigilance is all about Courage, Conviction and Right Actions in behalf of the Children's Children's Children.   It is about looking ahead to the future of the world, and finding ways to remove the threats of tyranny from not only our own children's doorsteps, but from the doorsteps of the future generations.
        Even if Iraq is a mess in many ways today after its liberation, one thing is not a mess.  The citizens of Iraq have the right to protest, to argue, to express their likes or dislikes without fear of being shot.   The most exciting part of the Iraqi liberation was the first public protest of its citizens against American "occupation."

Iraq men hold anti-American banners while demonstrating against U.S. and thousands of Iraqi Muslims marched through Baghdad.

        A few weeks before, had the citizens of Iraq walked down the streets protesting Saddam Hussein's prisons, or his son's wanton rape and torture of citizens, they would be mulch, fertilizing the sand dunes, or, stretched on torture racks in some dank prison.
        Today, they can rant and rave and shout and stomp and do everything any citizen of any free country can do.
        But, they owe that right to people like Pvt. Steele and Pvt. Lynch.
        So, when they walk their children to school, and tell the tales of their country history, hopefully there will be an effigy not unlike the one France has, of an American or other ally hanging from some edifice, willing to give his or her life so that the children might enjoy freedom.
        Maybe, hopefully, those who appreciate the rights of others will take the Pledge of Vigilance, and through its Principles, be willing to become an Effigy of Vigilance, not only for their children and their nation, but for all children and all nations. 


June 4--Carcass of Complacency:  Saddam Hussein's Legacy

©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design