Monday, May 2, 2011

"Why was he killed?"

In typical me fashion, I missed the news last night. I didn't realize the biggest news story in a decade had broken until this morning, when Facebook lit up with patriotic sentiment.

I interrupted our regularly-scheduled cartoon marathon to catch a few minutes of CNN. I read stories online, but I needed to see someone saying it for myself.

Osama bin Laden was, in fact, killed.

In a split second, my heart took me back to Sept. 11, 2001. I was a junior in college. I went to work at my campus job in a rush, and for once, didn't turn on my radio while I got ready. By the time I figured out what was going on, the first tower had already fallen. My boss let me call my grandmother, because all the news was saying was that a plane went down "near" Pittsburgh. She and my mom were fine.

University offices closed at noon, and all I wanted to do was hug Hubby (then my boyfriend), but of course he was 4.5 hours away working. I settled for a pillow and the company of my roommates. All 6 of us were transfixed by the news for the next few days. We huddled around the television as if watching those towers go down over and over would somehow bring clarity. Or closure.

In a way, closure came today. A moral victory, perhaps, but not the end of fear. It cannot bring back the thousands who lost their lives on 9/11 or in the fighting since then. But it does say that we are strong. We stand united and we will not be defeated.

Nathaniel wandered into the living room after breakfast and cocked his head in confusion as the news anchor announced once again that Bin Laden had been killed.

"Why he was killed, Mommy?"

"He was a very, very bad guy, kiddo."

I am so grateful he doesn't understand yet the gravity of the war on terror. Or why his "Uncle" Mark has been sent to Iraq twice and Afghanistan once in the last 10 years. And why some of the men and women who have been deployed never made it home.

I am thankful he doesn't understand the fear that we have all had to deal with since 9/11. To him, bad guys are only in movies, and they never win.

But today, score one for the good guys.

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