For some, it came as a shock. Others knew it was only a matter of time. But for most Americans, President Barack Obama’s announcement Sunday night that known terrorist Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. troops came as welcome news.
“Seriously, I was happy, and relieved,” said Marana resident Nina Moore of bin Laden’s death. “I had family lost for several days. The wait for a response from somebody was like – I can’t even describe it. After two days I heard from one of my aunts, and she was going crazy they couldn’t find my cousin. It took five days for my aunt, uncle and their son to finally find my cousin Jackie. They saw bodies on top of bodies trying to find her. There wasn’t anything that I could do being that I was here in Arizona.”
Like citizens around the world, Northwest residents listened to the President’s announcement Sunday that the number one criminal on the FBI’s Most Wanted list was dead.
“It was nearly 10 years ago that a bright September day was darkened by the worst attack on the American people in our history,” said Obama. “The images of 9/11 are seared into our national memory – hijacked planes cutting through a cloudless September sky; the Twin Towers collapsing to the ground; black smoke billowing up from the Pentagon; the wreckage of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Penn., where the actions of heroic citizens saved even more heartbreak and destruction.”
Recalling those tragic moments that resulted in nearly 3,000 American deaths, Obama announced that the man labeled responsible, al-Qaida leader bin Laden, had been brought to justice.
After receiving a lead in August, the CIA took months to follow up and be sure the information was accurate. After deciding the United States had enough information, Obama ordered troops to raid the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where bin Laden was believed to be, on Sunday, May 1.
In the U.S.-led operation, bin Laden was pronounced dead after a short firefight with American troops. The al-Qaida leader was said to have died from two gunshot wounds to the head. He has since been buried at sea.
Marana residents Don Perry, Foy Brown and Max Neale, who are all military veterans, said they were pleased with the President’s announcement Sunday night.
“It was like Christmas all over again,” said Neale, a Navy veteran. “We got rid of the worst man of our life. It does bring some closure for those who lost loved ones, but like they said, there is always going to be grief.”
For Brown, an Army veteran, the death of bin Laden means, “the devil is gone.”
“I was beginning to think it was never going to happen,” he said. “But someone finally found him. And, what was nice is they did it without having to blow anything up.”
Perry called the event a good morale booster for U.S. troops both at home and currently serving overseas.
“It let them know that even though it took some time, things are working,” he said. “I think this death is more symbolic though. There are others out there who are ready to take his place.”
Leilani Ramirez said she wasn’t surprised bin Laden was finally found by the U.S., stating that she was happy to hear the news that would hopefully bring some closure or peace to the thousands who suffered in the Sept. 11 tragedy.
Marana resident Christle Arenas noted that bin Laden’s death doesn’t bring an end to the war in Afghanistan.
“It took them a really long time, and it doesn’t feel like the final event to put an end to anything,” she said. “I understand the significance, but it isn’t just him. This really doesn’t change anything for our troops over there.”
Being from a military family, Arenas said she was also somewhat disappointed with Americans celebrating the death in the streets of New York and Washington, noting that it didn’t seem right to celebrate someone being killed.
According to icasulaties.org, since 2001 there have been 1,485 U.S. soldiers killed in and around Afghanistan.
Bin Laden served as leader of the al-Qaida for nearly two decades, plotting numerous attacks against the United States.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano said bin Laden’s death is not only an important death for the United States, but also the entire world.
However, even with the news, the former Arizona governor said the United States will remain at a “heightened state of vigilance,” but the Department of Homeland Security does not intend to issue a National Terrorism Advisory Alert at this time.
It may have been almost 10 years ago since Sept. 11, but Moore will never forget that tragic day. Growing up in New York, she recalled the day she walked across the living room and saw on her television screen the Twin Towers burning.
Moore said al-Qaida remains strong, and she feels America should never let its guard down.
“You know, I feel happy like maybe the people who lost loved ones can feel some relief. Although I never wish anybody to be dead, this is a much-needed death; so more people don’t have to lose their lives for no reason,” Moore reflected. “I feel relief for today, but you know this doesn’t end anything.”