Americans feel relief over death of Osama bin Laden
and Wire Reports
Sandra Lagergren was spending a quiet night at her Carson City home on Sunday when her boyfriend’s brother called to make sure they turned on the television.
The brother, a wounded American soldier, had just learned with the rest of the world that Osama bin Laden – the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and many others on innocent people around the world – had been shot and killed by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs just hours earlier in a compound 35 miles north of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.
“He’s in the military and so he was calling us right away; he was very excited about the whole thing,” said Lagergren, 25. “And so we turned the news on and we watched it.”
But the news, which inspired impromptu celebrations Sunday night in front of the White House and ground zero in New York City, was met with some reservation, including Lagergren’s.
“I’m glad that he’s out of our lives and not really a problem anymore,” she said. “But the main thing is it seems that people celebrating somebody’s death is a pretty crazy thing. But I guess I was happy to hear about it, too.”
Others around the country said despite the jubilation, the news didn’t make them feel safer.
Walter Hillegass, a plumber who cleaned the dust-choked World Trade Center site for days after the attacks, said he is scared of what comes next.
“I’m happy they got him,” said Hillegass, staring at ground zero in New York, holding a U.S. flag. “But there’s always going to be another one right behind him.”
Lagergren said she thought bin Laden would have been captured sooner, but after a decade with no news of his whereabouts she said she figured bin Laden would live the rest of his life, “just enjoying what he did and continuing to work behind the scenes.”
Retired Navy Capt. Brad Goetsch, the current Churchill County manager, became commander at NAS Fallon the month before the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Goetsch said the United States always wanted an immediate payback for what bin Laden had orchestrated with hijacked passenger jets flying into both towers of the World trade Center, the Pentagon and another that crashed in rural Pennsylvania. Still, Goetsch said he feels bin Laden endured his own hell over the past decade.
“I think of him living in fear for 10 years,” Goetsch said. “He lost his status, he lost his war in Iraq, he’s losing the war in Afghanistan and he lived in hell for a while.”
State and city leaders across the country stepped up patrols at possible terrorist targets Monday for fear of retaliatory attacks. Some travelers said they didn’t feel any different about flying in the wake of bin Laden’s death.
In Dearborn, Mich. – home to one of the nation’s largest Arab and Muslim communities – drivers honked their horns and others gathered outside City Hall, chanting, “USA!” and waving American flags.
“It’s a special day for us to show Americans we are celebrating, we are united,” said Ahmed Albedairy, 35, of Dearborn, who came to the U.S. from Iraq in 1996 and was one of about 20 people outside City Hall early Monday. He said it was important to celebrate the “death of the evil Osama bin Laden.”
Everywhere, it seemed, people turned to the flag and American anthems to show their stripes. “Proud to Be an American” was played between innings of the Texas Rangers-Oakland A’s game Monday afternoon, and an announcer asked fans to “raise their Budweisers” in appreciation of the military.
Bob Morin, a political science professor at Western Nevada College, said he was watching the Phillies game when the announcers suddenly cut in with the news of bid Laden’s death.
“Then I flipped over to a news channel,” he said. “My initial reaction was, this is great. It’s been a long time coming.”
He said he thought the United States government would eventually find bin Laden.
“Didn’t know when, or how, but it was a matter of time,” Morin said, adding, “this helped the United States from a strategic and defense position, but the thought that maybe al-Qaida is done and that we’re back to a sense of safety and security would be overblown.”
Guillermo Munoz, a 21-year-old student at WNC, found out about the news the same way many in his generation did: though Facebook.
“It’s about time,” said Munoz, who was 11 on 9/11. “I was thinking, what does it really mean? He was more of a symbolic figure than a military and strategic one.”
Ultimately for Munoz, his feelings about the demise of the terrorist leader was ambivalence.
“Bin Laden’s dead, but al-Qaida is not,” he said. “We still have a lot of work left to do.”
• Nevada Appeal Reporter Brian Duggan, Steve Ranson at the Lahontan Valley News and the Associated Press contributed to this report.汤