Osama bin Laden. Is. Dead.
Nine years, seven months, and twenty-one days after the attacks made on American soil, targeting American civilians. Osama bin Laden is dead.
For my generation, this name was the name with which we equated evil. The Ace of Spades. This man, the man behind 9-11-01, is now dead. At the hands of Americans soldiers. This which we vowed, a decade ago; revenge: blood for blood.
I hardly count myself among the war-mongers; those who tout rockets as diplomatic measure. Yet, I can hardly forget that morning, almost a decade ago. I was living on a military installation at the time; and my aunt frequently flew the American Airlines route to Dulles airport. It was her “all is well” call that alerted us (we were on Alaskan time) to the tragedy. My then-military husband and I watched, live, as the towers fell. I was numb as he packed his ruck sack, kissed my head, and said, “I’d better go ahead and go in early today. Don’t know when I’ll be back. I love you.” And he, like so many others, left; clad in combat boots and BDU’s. Fighters were scrambled, gates were locked. America was under attack. On her soil. Against her people. Innocents had perished. Men waited, impotent to stop the battle that targeted those whom they vowed to protect.
And her civilians did what they could think of. They crowded churches, flooded recruiters’ offices, volunteered to donate blood; locals rushed to the scene, aching to help.
How old were you? What were you doing, when the world stopped? Two generations before, young men and women lied about their ages to avenge the deaths of mere soldiers. It is rumored, that after bombing a military target, a Japanese Admiral said “I fear we have only woken a slumbering giant.” Yet, in the 2000’s, we took 11 days. 11 days until the stock markets returned to their pre-attack numbers. 11 days for the fervor of patriotism to pass. 11 days before her citizens decided this was too “imperialistic.” Let us bury our dead, and go back to our anesthetized lives; our self-centered, over-indulged existence. Let us not think about the pain. Let us not replay the traumatic images. Let’s move one. Let’s forget.
But we have not forgotten. Our military forces, who along with their families have paid the ultimate sacrifice, have persisted. And we have conquered our foe. We have announced to the watching world that no matter how long it takes, America will prevail. She will remember her fallen. They will not have died in vain.
And so, whether pacifist or imperialist, I urge you to remember. Remember who and where you were on September 11, 2001. Remember those who, then and in the interim, have given their lives to this cause. Remember that women who burn dinners under bin Laden’s regime are themselves burned and left for dead. That boys not yet old enough to taste beer, gave their lives to eradicate this foe. That children both in the towers, and on those planes, were forced to forfeit their lives in that attack. Remember that while not perfect, America stands for justice. And that her enemies, particularly those who attack her innocents, will pay the ultimate price.
Osama bin Laden. Is. Dead.
May God have mercy on all our souls.