Bin Laden's Death Resonates

News that the 9/11 mastermind has been killed by U.S. forces transports the editor of Piedmont Patch back to the moment the World Trade Center was hit.

I flipped on the radio after getting home from yoga class Sunday night and did a double-take at the words, "Osama bin Laden is dead."

A half hour later, at 11:35 p.m. eastern time, President Barack Obama confirmed the news. Memories of the events around Sept. 11, 2001, came rushing back.

I grew up in New Canaan, CT, a suburb of  New York City where many parents worked on Wall Street and many children followed suit. One of my high school classmates, Brad Fetchet, died when the World Trade Center fell. Less than two weeks ago, from the collapsed building as a memorial to the loss the community suffered.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I watched the plane hit the second tower on a tiny analog television in the back room of the event production company I then worked for in East Hartford, CT. That night I listened to U.S. military fighter jets circling the airspace within 100 miles from New York repeatedly swoop over my house.

On Oct. 11, 2001—the one-month anniversary—I started an internship at WNYC in New York, in a municipal building five blocks from Ground Zero. The debris in the air down there grabbed at my throat every night.

It feels strange to not be among the there now nearly a decade later to celebrate and reflect on the death of the man behind that devastation. The quiet of this California morning is surreal, just like the clear of the blue sky on Sept. 11, 2001.

Jukka Valkonen May 02, 2011 at 10:51 PM
On 9/11, I was about to leave home for work when we were notified not to come into the office which was in downtown SF. I had very good friends who safely evacuated from the WTC who later shared what they could remember. Obviously, they were in a "fight and flight" mode. Upon seeing the news last night, I was disappointed to see so many celebrating the death of another human, regardless of what he had done. I lost a very close friend when his car was ambushed in Fallujah, he was dragged from the car, killed, and his body burned and dragged through the streets. He was one of the Navy commandos that saved fellow soldiers in Blackhawk down. When our media shows images of people from other countries celebrating the death of Americans, we are turned off, and even may consider them "animals" or "barbaric". The celebrating last night and today demonstrated that we're no different. Regarding Bin Laden, we should also remember it was our CIA that trained him. We trained him well, and in the end, he used his training against us and our allies. Like a rogue agent, or an attack dog that no longer responds to the trainer's commands, we chose to kill him. The President's words were chosen very carefully, such as "died in a firefight." A tier one strike team is trained for precision and this was not a operation focused on negotiation. We can only assume that Bin Laden planned for his death and in doing so, left solid contingency plans to be executed.
Amy Jeffries May 03, 2011 at 02:49 AM
I would have wanted to be with the crowd just to feel it, just to experience the catharsis of a community rocked by tragedy. I can only hope the crowds that gathered in New York and elsewhere were cheering justice and closure and not a killing. Thanks for sharing some of your emotions here.
paula sullivan silver May 03, 2011 at 04:06 PM
Well said, Jukka. Also, "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." - Martin Luther King, Jr. (Source: Strength to Love, 1963).


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