We never forgot victims

Published 11:33 am Tuesday, May 3, 2011

It was a confusing feeling when the president of the United States stepped to the cameras and announced to the nation — and the world — that after a decade of hunting, Osama bin Laden, mastermind of the 9/11 attack, had been killed by U.S. special forces.

Across the country, impromptu block parties broke out, as crowds came together outside the White House, on college campuses and elsewhere, singing “We Are the Champions,” the national anthem and chanting “U.S.A! U.S.A!”

For those people, bin Laden’s death represented closure — an end to a decade of always hunting but never finding. For thousands of United States citizens, May 1 is the date that their lost loved ones were finally avenged.

For others, bin Laden’s death represented a chance of heightened danger for our troops overseas and a higher chance we will deal with more attacks in the same manner of 9/11.

Many people, us included, feel a mixture of the two emotions.

There is no question that bringing bin Laden to justice was one of our government’s highest priorities — and rightfully so. However, he was still a man, and to celebrate his death feels strange, and oddly against our values. But we take no pleasure in the death of a human being — rather, we are glad to honor the end of 10 years of uncertainty.

Chelsea Mayor Earl Niven, who was in New York on 9/11 and will always have that terrible day in his memories, said he felt “closure,” but remained aware that fighting is still happening.

In light of the news about bin Laden, we must all pray his death will contribute to a greater good, helping to bring about peace instead of enabling even more hate. We must pray his passing leaves this a better, more just world than when he was here.

The We Say is the opinion of the Shelby County Reporter editorial board.