6, 2002—Ground Zero Plus
Heroes Come & Go--
Some Last Forever
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, July 6--Heroes come and go, swept into
history by the winds of time and change. But some stick forever.
The Spartans of Vigilance, 2500 years
ago, live. They guard the pass at Thermopylae against
Terrorism, preserved in a famous Greek poem.
On September 11, 2001, 3,000 such heroes
died--victims of a sneak attack on American soil, the "Dawn of Terrorism,"
the "Birth of Vigilance."
And this past Friday, July 5, one day after
the 226th anniversary of America's independence, another great hero died.
His name is Ted Williams.
But this isn't a baseball story of a man
known for a ferocious bat, the last man to bat .400 and perhaps the
greatest hitter in baseball history.
It's the story of a hero--a Citizen of
Vigilance, a Father of Vigilance, a Grandfather of Vigilance.
Yesterday, at the River-to-River New York
Pops concert in Battery Park at the tip of Lower Manhattan, Skitch
Henderson led the famous orchestra in a series of patriotic songs.
The emcee was Mark McEwen, weatherman and reporter for CBS Morning show.
In a tribute to what a hero is, he defined one as "the person who is
running into the burning building to save people as others are running
Ted Williams was that kind of hero.
He faced two September 11ths.
In each case he ran into the burning buildings while others ran out, or,
didn't run at all.
A baseball player of his stature has
a million strings at his disposal. He could pull any one at any time
and get about anything he wanted--especially pulling the one that would
keep him safe from the jaws of death.
keeping with his Courage, Conviction and Right Action, Ted Williams walked
into the "Jaws of Death," in both World War II and Korea. He
chose to risk his life to secure the principles of Freedom rather than
hide behind a bat and an athletic career that offered him fame, fortune
and ultimate personal safety.
The Hall of Famer missed three full
seasons of baseball, which surely would have boosted his massive hitting
record of 2,654. He chose instead to be a Navy fighter pilot, daily
putting his life and athletic career on the line for his
belief in something far more powerful than a baseball.
That was the first time
he ran into a burning building, but not his last.
When the Korean War broke out, he
returned to the Terrorist Zone, donning this time the uniform of my alma
matter, a U.S. Marine fighter pilot. He missed most of two
seasons while flying 39 missions. His plane was hit by enemy fire on one early
mission and he barely escaped a fiery crash-landing.
Ted Williams was much like the FDNY Fire
Lieutenant Bob LaRocco, of Ladder Company 9, who was buried in the
collapse of the first World Trade Center building. As the
thirty people died around LaRocco. He dug himself out of the rubble.
Instead of protecting himself from more harm, LaRocco bulldogged his
way to the remaining building to help in that battle and barely escaped death
when it also collapsed.
Williams and LaRocco are teammates in
the hero category. Both knew "batting practice" was about
preparing one's constitution for the real fight--staving off the Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency that makes some run one way, and others run
to help those at peril. The mark of champions is always the power to
overcome the fear that drives others away.
Williams' last 'at bat' hitting homerun
I'm personally not
a baseball fan. My wife is. When she was seven she saw Ted
Williams play at Fenway Park. He could have bought me a cup of
coffee and I'd never recognize him--not for his baseball heroics, that is.
But I'm sure I would have
known him as a Marine of Vigilance. There's something special
in the eyes of a person. It's a spark, glow from within, as though
the Torch of Vigilance was burning in his or her soul, signaling the willingness to give
ones life for a higher cause that most, who don't understand such a
desire, consider whimsical illusions. They are blind to such sparks because they never chose to stand up for
anything beyond their own selfish needs.
of the blind is the guy
who filed the lawsuit to blast "Under God" as being "unconstitutional."
In America, a person has the right to protest about anything.
But this guy isn't a hero--he's just the opposite. He's selfishly
trying to destroy the principle of the "Higher Order," that which stands
above all men and women, a universal power, a non-religious entity that
represents Good-Orderly-Direction (G-O-D), directing human endeavor toward a goal of
compassion. Rather than risk his life to defend the freedoms
of belief in something far greater than ourselves, this man seeks to set fires on the beliefs
which ordain the ideals of "faith" in something larger than man or woman,
in some universal compass that provides the power of good over evil, right
over wrong, just over unjust.
While in some camps, people cheer
this man who attacks the "Under God" principles and call him a hero,
he hardly fits the bill. Heroes risk everything to attain their
status as heroes, but this man
risks nothing and seeks everything.. He is fleeing the burning buildings, not rushing into
them. He is as selfish as the man who knocks over the old lady
to escape the flames. He has no "higher calling" because his beliefs
are to rip such Hope in the "unknown" from the hands of the children--to take their Pledge
and rip away certain words that stand for something above and beyond human
frailty, and then, when he's finished with that, his intention is to blow up the words on American currency
that state: "In God We Trust." No, he's far from a hero
of the LaRocco or Ted Williams league. He fits much better in the
Osama bin Laden league.
I put Mohammad Ali (Cassius
Clay) up in the Ted Williams and Bob LaRocco category. At the peak
of his career, Ali
chose to be a Warrior of Vigilance and risk everything. He refused
to fight in a war he didn't believe in. But he didn't
run from the flames. He paid the price. He didn't box in
the brightness of his peak years, choosing instead to sacrifice his World
Champion Crown for his convictions. He displayed the Courage, Conviction and took the Right Action
heroes are made of. Others might
have pulled strings or found some safe haven so they could retain both
their athletic career as well as appease critics. Ali
stood on the high ground, fighting for his beliefs at great risk to
just as Ted Williams or Lt. LaRocco did when he
crawled from one crumbling building to put himself at risk in yet another.
Men of Vigilance, Women of Vigilance, will
never be lost in the pages of history. Like those
Spartans at Thermopylae some two millenniums ago, they will forever be
remembered not because of the hitting records, or the boxing
championships, or just because of being a fireman--but because they
crawled into the Jaws of Terror, willingly putting their lives on the line for
their beliefs. None of the real heroes of the earth sought
anything from their actions, and all put something higher than themselves
above their own personal security. That "something" is a concept the man
who is trying to destroy the foundations of "In God We Trust" will never
The winds of time will
bury his battle in the dust of insignificance, but the Soldiers of
Vigilance like Ted Williams, Mohammad Ali, and Lt. LaRocco will live
So will all those who become
Citizens of Vigilance, Parents of Vigilance, Loved Ones of Vigilance.
They will recognize the power of the "higher order," the conviction one
has to put the children of the world before any other human selfish
desire. Only when we see that heroes are made, not born, will
we realize that each of us can become the greatest hero in the world in
the eyes of our children and loved ones when we put their Emotional and
Physical security before our own. And the Pledge of
Vigilance is one of the first steps in that direction.
Be a Hero of Vigilance.
Take the Pledge today.
To July 5--Machine Guns, Bomb Dogs & Macy's 4th Of July
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved - a ((HYYPE))