“Have you forgotten, how it felt that day?
To see your homeland under fire
And her people blown away
Have you forgotten when those towers fell
We had neighbors still inside goin’ through a livin’ hell
And we vow to get the ones behind Bin Laden
Have you forgotten?”
~ Lyrics from “Have You Forgotten” sung by Darryl Worley
In a word, no.
On September 11, 2001, the American people were introduced to a man who would become the greatest symbol of evil of the 21st Century thus far. He was the face and the order behind the attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and another location still speculated, killing thousands and leaving a nation grieving and angry. This man, his ideology, and those who followed him sparked a war that has lasted almost ten years, costing the lives of thousands. While the British newspaper, The Independent, and M15 sources claim the terrorists who bombed the rush hour London subways on July 7, 2005 acted independently from Al Qaeda, it isn’t a stretch to think the bombers were influenced by a man I can now, finally, refer to in the past tense.
I’m ashamed as a journalism major to say that I found out about Osama bin Laden’s death through a Facebook status last night around ten-fifteen or so. According to a Wall Street Journal article, bin Laden was killed in a “targeted attack in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, roughly 40 miles outside the capital city of Islamabad . . .” As of the last several news reports I’ve found, his body has been dumped into the sea (as if the world’s waters needed any more pollution) at no definitive location to avoid his burial ground becoming an extremist shrine. After more than ten years (another article in the WSJ tells me he’s been running since even before 9/11), he’s finally gone.
From what I understand, he was on dialysis. Personally, I think it would have been more fitting for him to live on until the end of his days, suffering through a disease than be killed as he was to become what some will call a martyr, but I’m just a college student. What do I know?
I logged into Facebook this morning again and saw another status among many praising our soldiers for a job well done and expressing happiness that bin Laden was no more. It said “Shame on us for rejoicing over Osama Bin Laden’s death…that’s another soul in Hell. Heaven surley [sic] isn’t rejoicing . . .” I’m inclined to say I agree.
Now, before anyone gets angry and breaks out the pitchforks about this, let me explain. As Christians, I, along with my friend, believe that we serve a merciful God who has no desire to see His creation burn in a place He designed for the ultimate evil, Satan. There’s no true joy in the death of a human being, even one as wicked as bin Laden. However, I can also agree with some of the comments I found when I just went to copy and paste the status. One, specifically.
“I agree with you 100%. it [sic] is sad that he is burning in hell for eternity. However, we are all given the chance to choose God over Satan and he made his choice. I am not rejoicing that he is burning in hell, but I am happy for all those who lost loved ones on 9/11. maybe [sic] this can give them a little closure. I cant [sic] imagine how they felt on that day or how they feel today.”
When I think of the feelings going through America today, I don’t really think it’s joy, per se, though the expressions and the celebrations certainly make it sound that way. I see it as dark satisfaction, mixed with a sense of closure I think some Americans had given up on.
It’s a morale boost to our troops and our people, and a hit to the morale of Al Qaeda. In a way, it’s a grim breath of fresh air. It’s a historic moment and we can all feel it. We, along with people around the world, are happy he’s dead. It’s one less evil in a world with far too many as it is. It’s one less person of power bent on the destruction of Israel, America and our allies. It’s closure to a lot of Americans who lost sight of what we were fighting for. Oh, we were reminded from time to time that this is a war against terrorism – that our brave men and women are fighting for our right to live without fear of enemy attack on our own soil or elsewhere. We were told there were soldiers sent specifically to track down and put an end to bin Laden, but we hadn’t seen much in the way of results until now. To an even greater extent, it’s, I hope, some closure for those who received word that their loved ones were not coming home again on September 11. It’s, I hope, some closure for those who have received word these past ten years that their soldier is not returning to them at the end of their deployment. That we, really they, the soldiers, got ‘im.
I think there are a lot of us who don’t really know what to think. It’s all just too surreal. We’ll process it all after a while – after the months I anticipate the news outlets will cover the story and its aftermath, after some time to think – really think – about what this means to the world. It’s by no means an end to terrorism. There are enough independent cells operating throughout the world. There is enough anger at others for hatred that hot to still exist. Bin Laden’s death does not mean an end to this war (see the last two paragraphs of this article for added umph to my statement), though we’re a heck of a lot closer than we were on April 30th. Chances are, this event will put further strain on our relationship with Pakistan and I hope that doesn’t lead to more fighting there. I hope we can bring the soldiers home soon, but I know from what I see in the news from the region and what I’ve read and understood of biblical prophesy, peace in the Middle East will take much more than what we’re seeing right now. And it will only be the beginning to something much darker.
We’ll have to wait and see.
I can’t post this without giving credit to where it’s due. Our soldiers have faced great odds far from home and ridicule by some more radical anti-war groups and individuals here in the States. I’d personally like to send those people to the middle of a battlefield to let them try to get the terrorists to sit down for a spot of tea to talk things over and come out on the winning side. Of course, we’d never see them again. Or maybe we would, considering the fact that our troops’ dedication to their people would never let them go there alone. Maybe I’m just crazy. Anyway.
So here’s to you, our brave warriors who never lost sight of what you were, and are, fighting for, even when so much of it seemed unclear. Whether or not you were at the site of bin Laden’s death, you were part of paving the way to bring an end to the face of the greatest symbol of evil since Hitler. I can’t speak for the rest of my countrymen, but you have my undying gratitude for risking your lives in service to your people and our nation.