Column: Relief, reminiscence in Osama killing

Watching revelers descend upon the White House Sunday night, I got a feeling I hadn’t felt in almost 10 years.

It was the days after 9/11 and we were a united nation, bound together in a time of sorrow and focused on one thing: finding the man responsible for the most devastating attack on U.S. soil in modern times and removing him from this Earth — with as many bullets as necessary.

Too often we feel very little connection to those around us. Our priorities are so different from our neighbors’, even our friends’, that we can’t always celebrate the same things. But come Sunday night, we could all rejoice. Osama Bin Laden was dead, killed by Navy SEALS on behalf of the entire United States of America.

It’s been a week of celebration — albeit amid painful recollections — for many after having to live 10 years knowing the man responsible for the attacks that changed all of our lives in ways big and small was still breathing.

We thought it appropriate to share this editorial space with our readers this week. We asked you to give us your thoughts the morning after Bin Laden was killed.

The following comments were excerpted from the four Times/Review Newsgroup websites and Facebook pages:

• “Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Go SEALS and stay the course Obama! But let’s get these wars finished and devote the money to finding and developing the best sources of clean energy to end dependence on oil.”

• “I have mixed emotions. I’m thrilled to death the mastermind of 9/11 is dead. I’m thrilled our troops did what they set out to do and I’m so proud to be an American at this time. I’m probably prouder than I’ve been in a long time.

“But it brought back those feelings I had on 9/11. Mad. Sad. Confused.

“How could this happen to America? I felt let down we weren’t prepared. I felt we were no longer the greatest country in the world. I felt loss and mourned with the rest of the country. I cried for those that were lost and their families.

“This war on terror is not over. As a country we still need to keep our eyes and ears open. Our troops will still be fighting. We still have Bin Laden supporters out there. Right now I want to continue to support our troops and continue to be proud to be an American. God bless America.”

• “I lived in Staten Island [on 9/11] and lost two friends whose bodies were never found, along with a firefighter neighbor who was so kind to me when my first husband died. My dear brother-in-law, who barely made it out of the towers, was missing for hours. It a was horrible day.

“I lived in close proximity to a church. For months after the Sept. 11 attacks, hearing church bells, bagpipes and seeing funeral processions was a daily occurrence. And for weeks, the ash and smell of burning hit our nostrils when we went outdoors. Staten Island lost many of its citizens on that fateful day. It even saddens me write this account.

“I am morally opposed to violence. I believe in respecting the dignity in every human being. However, this man was a mass murderer. He was evil.”

• “It is a sad reflection on me as a person that my hope is Bin Laden’s mind read the millisecond before his death in ultra-slow motion — that the bullet fired was in a Matrix-like setting, coming right at him and he seeing it and not being able to move an iota. But it doesn’t cause me a second’s regret to think this.”

• “I was watching TV in Italy when the breaking news came on. It was early Monday morning. At first I thought I was reading it wrong, since my Italian leaves much to be desired. But the word ‘ucciso’ means dead. I felt a sense of relief, but of course this cancer of terrorism has had plenty of time to grow in the past 10 years. It’s a welcome step toward some sort of peace, but they are still out there. I hope I live to see peace in the Middle East.”

• “This murderous devil got what he deserved. All our lives have changed since his attack on 9/11. I think we have been brought closer as Americans, as we share our pain and a stronger national identity. Thank you to our military, especially all that serve from the North Fork.”

• “A burial at sea? Why? We have to swim in those waters.”

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