They almost divided this country, ripping it from the desolate foundations it had been built upon.

They shook the foundations of the Constitution, challenged the Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, and changed the procedures of the criminal justice system.

They showed that they could rip through a four-foot-thick curtain called hate, and tear open the walls that separated the races over 50 years ago, proving once again that, "All men are created equal."

They never cease to reveal the strength of this nation, when faced with someone who wants to destroy it. They are the single greatest weapon, yet very few hold the power to control them.

Though the true secret of greatness, they are the cause of more destruction than the unleashing a contained blaze.

And what are they? They are our words and these words are the language that we use to speak and to communicate. Sometimes they communicate more than we wanted to say and sometimes there is something lost between the communication of those words. Without realizing it, every word that is spoken breathes. In seconds, it can wound more deeply than merely piercing the flesh - it can scar the soul. If lucky, that wound will not burrow further and kill its victim's soul. Headlines continue to prove all the destruction that words can uncage, and once they are on the prowl, they become hard to lure, trap, and cage again.

Eyes have witnessed them do more damage than the results of nuclear fission.

They have been known to pierce the heart with a knife of pain.

They can part the sea of hate, bring down its walls using a single brick, yet each day twice as many walls seal it in to simmer.

They can unleash the power of hell with a single command, yet the strength from the oppressed is hardly ever mentioned.

They empower those who are strong, and leave the weak powerless still.

They evoke violence and sustain the force of a riot.

They can tear down walls with truth, and rebuild them with lies.

They stir a kettle of hate, making its soup seem sweet, but its aftertaste sour.

They spew anger and hatred, etch it on one's brain, then fire a loaded pistol of spite.

They create fickle crowds and control them like a puppeteer.

They are more vicious than Eminem's lyrics, relentlessly attacking without any forewarning.

Sharper than any double-edged sword, they can spear the soul being of a man and produce it on a stick.

They result in stored up emotions, which are stored in a sealed and unseen closet that explodes when full, causing a severity of damage one cannot even begin to describe.

They can produce a deafening silence in a building more crowded than The New York Stock Exchange, echo through its stillness, creep between the cracks of its walls and stun like a cattle prod - all from one person with a mission who dared to step up.

They are comprised of more angles than a diamond is capable of having.

They are able to wage war quicker than the Arabs and the Jews.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." People seem to focus on fear, instead of seeking to overcome it. Fear is a superstitial emotion that must be created by something else - as in words. However, humorously enough, it is ironic that the words that entangle one in fear come from the same place where strength is formed and kept until it perceives a command for necessity.

Unfortunately, these words know terror as well as a mother knows her own child.

They know of the self-destruction fear brings, and disguise it as candy on a stick, ready to chain the hands of any individual who falls as prey to its trap.

With a single thought, they can create an atmosphere of fear that could bring nations to their knees.

They can send a chill of ice down one's spine, and make this world comprised of reality fall away.

Words of fear prowl like a lion searching the weak and insecure, for they know and hate the strength of opposition, because it gives them no hope to prevail.

The victorious know that the very words, which can consume one with utmost fear, never cease to stare it straight in the eyes with powerful words of strength, in order to challenge, conquer, and overcome it, for there is another fear - fear of self.

Emily Elizabeth Dickinson, one of many great American poets, said: "Hope is the thing with feathers -- that perches in the soul -- And sings the tune without words -- and never stops, at all."

Even if one can't see it at first, no matter what, hope always prevails. It provides the encouragement that even if the battle was lost; the war will still be won.

They have the power to calm, part the sea of despair, and wash over hurt with a wave of comfort.

They can heal a broken heart with a single breath, and seal an oath forever.

They are of more value than the oil supply of the United States of America, sometimes costing an arm and a leg, and at times - everything or nothing.

Their mercy soars on the wings of an eagle, blessing those who need it with the swiftness of a cheetah, and before its source is found, the eagle is gone.

They provide hope for an unknown future, and give endurance to face tomorrow.

They endlessly display evidence that dictates how year after year, there is nothing that has been thrown at one of the most powerful countries in the world, the United States of America - this great nation - that has not made it stronger.

They prove that when the chips are down, the ropes are tied, and one's back is up against the wall, their whisper gives that one person the strength to break through those ropes that bind them, in order to make them persevere harder.

They work with actions to determine character, yet never cease to define one's personality.

They can dry one's tears quicker than the desert can evaporate the rain.

They can coo and soothe, like a mother comforts her crying child to sleep.

They can bring love and forgiveness when the world around them said there was none.

They make one feel that not all is lost when the last soldier falls.

When they cause one to fall, haunt one's every inch of peace, and only feed a fire of self-criticism, they suddenly become someone disguised as an angel, who offers them a helping hand and encourages the individual to get back up on their feet.

They become that last thread of hope one holds on to, and although everybody else said that all was lost, within seconds that thread becomes an entire spool.

They never forget to let one know that if the person will bring the shovel, God will move the mountain.

Words can be so little, yet cost so much more than intended. They steal, kill, hurt, love, comfort, emit fear, motivate, strengthen, weaken, and hate, all at the same time. They tear down walls, build bridges, kill with hate, comfort with love, and cause fear. They can overcome fear, steal our self-worth, kill the soul, wrap their loving arms around the helpless, and show mercy to the merciless. They aspire one to achieve success, because there is no greater feeling than knowing that you have overcome all of the obstacles thrown in your path, for when you were confronted by them, you only leaped higher.

The secret of greatness is said to be many things. Some say that it means money, power, an executive position, and while this all may be true, there is one thing that people often miss - the words, that these people speak, or chose not to speak. That CEO position for a company or a seat on the Board of Directors or even being voted as District Attorney was not offered to an individual the second that they walked through the door. They had to prove worthy and prove that their words were not hollow and empty, but stronger than steel. Their words had power.

Always remember to speak as if these words were your last, talk as if this was your last breath, and communicate as if this was your last hour. Make sure that your words never cease to leave a powerful impact on those you come in contact to. Words create the stories that are told... make certain that your words leave behind an unforgettable tale.

Copyright © 2003 Rachael Piljagic
Not to be used without permission from the author