I'm not exactly sure why I didn't post this last year but I didn't. After re reading the post I thought it deserved posting. The sentiments are the same.
I've written before about where I was and what I was doing when I learned of the attacks on September 11, 2001. In a nutshell, I was asleep. My old answering machine kept clicking which meant someone was leaving a message. Normally it clicked once. This particular morning it clicked a few times.
The horror I experienced once I turned on the television was mirrored by millions of people across the country and world. And when we all learned the mastermind was a man named Osama bin Laden we had a person we could hold accountable.
I don't know that I ever thought it would take nearly 10 years for him to be dealt with. And I have my own theories as to why it did take that long. But this isn't the post to air those.
Last night I was in my car when I got several text messages. The first read simply "We killed bin Laden." I turned my satellite radio from music to news and sure enough got the confirmation.
I listened as a reporter talked of "30 to 40 people gathering at the gates of the White House," and continued to listen as that number increased.
My reaction was a mixed one. No, actually, my initial reaction was not mixed. I was grateful. I was almost euphoric. Then, after a moment, I prayed and asked for forgiveness because it was difficult for me to feel anything other than happiness at this man's death. Something my Christian faith tells me is not appropriate.
In the midst of it all, I thought of the people who were in the middle of it all some hours prior. The soldiers who risked their lives to carry out a mission that was, or still is, of so much import to this nation and especially those who lost loved ones on that fateful September morning. Those young soldiers who suffered a setback when their helicopter experienced mechanical difficulties. The families of those soldiers who did not know where their loved ones were, except that they were no doubt, once again, in harms way.
The situation in that compound was one I could only have imagined. But the photo released today by the White House of the president and his team sitting in the Situation Room as events unfolded, conveyed, to me at least, the horror of what was going on. And, on some level, the relief of what was happening.
The look of the president is distinct. That of Secretary Clinton is probably how I would have reacted. In any case, it was a monumental undertaking that meant so much to this nation. Watched on television by a small group of individuals watching another small group of individuals achieve what so many began to believe was impossible.
History is written on the faces of those in that photo. And that photo, I think, probably best illustrates the reaction of so many Americans when they learned the news that Osama bin Laden had finally been brought to justice.