I was planning to do an April update / May goal-setting post. Maybe talk a little about the weekend. I suppose I’ll get to that tomorrow. After seeing the news last night, all that just feels so… small.
Osama Bin Laden has been killed.
The newscasters referred to September 11 as a day that forever changed America. I do not think that is an exaggeration at all. As long as my mind remains lucid, I don’t suppose I will ever forget that day. I was at a training conference for my job in St. Paul. Everyone came out of the session for a morning coffee break, and there were televisions in that hotel lobby covering breaking news of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center. Actually, I do believe it was the second plane by that time. Everyone was focused on the news, but we did resume the training.
As the day went on, we also learned of the Pentagon being hit and the plane that had crashed in Pennsylvania. The speaker was from Virginia and was understandably concerned about his loved ones. A message came through on my company pager, recommending employees and clients avoid prominent locations like the State Capitol and the Mall of America. At that point, we were still almost expecting more attacks. Well, it was too late for me to stay away from the Capitol. I’d been down the road from it all day.
A friend had a sister living in New York City. It was a relief finding out that she was okay. I didn’t have any other personal connections to the areas impacted by the attacks, but I still felt affected. I think everyone did.
The losses resulting from that day are great. Nearly 3000 Americans killed in the attacks. Over 40,000 more lives lost in the ensuing “War on Terror.” In addition to the loss of lives, we lost a sense of innocence. We lost a sense of safety. We lost a lot of our freedom. My children were born into a country at war, and that’s all they’ve known for their entire lives.
With Bin Laden gone, I hope that those who lost loved ones in the attacks may feel that some degree of justice has been carried out. It will not bring their loved ones back, but it may provide a sense of closure. I hope it will bring our military personnel and their families a sense of satisfaction, that all their sacrifice has contributed to a major blow to al-Quaeda.
I wonder if Bin Laden’s death will make a significant difference in our foreign military involvement. I wonder if it will make any difference in our domestic policies that have encroached on our liberties in the name of safety. Time will tell.
One thing I’ve found is that I don’t rejoice at his death. With cries of celebration coming down the wire, it makes me feel “off.” I don’t know. It’s hard for me to take pleasure in someone’s death, even Bin Laden, apparently. But it does give me a small measure of relief, I suppose. And hope for a better future to come. I hope.
Do you remember where you were on September 11? What is your reaction to Bin Laden’s death?