Last night, as my husband and I were about to turn off the TV and the lights, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer broke in to the end of a program we were watching about Alzheimer’s Disease. At 10:30 p.m., President Obama would address the nation and the world. As I suspect everyone did, we tried to guess what the matter might be.
Without a lot of thought, I said to my husband, “I wonder if they got Osama bin Laden.” My husband looked shocked, even got a little choked up. Then it hit me what a significant thing I had said. What a significant world event that would be.
About 10 minutes after my wild guess, the news was leaked. My heart stopped. Perhaps for the first time in years, my emotions from 2001 returned, as if by the flip of a switch. There are no words, only images—of watching the news, sobbing. Of rushing to the bus to meet my son and wanting us all to hide from danger.
I sit here this morning, reading the news accounts and watching images of those gathered around Ground Zero, and remembering our recent visit to the memorials, which reveal bin Laden’s act in a painfully personal way. I sit here in awesome admiration of the historic display of courage and excellence–in military operations, in national intelligence and in Presidential leadership–that changed our world yesterday and that we’ll continue to need in the future.
The last words I heard as I switched off the television last night reflected something I was feeling but dared not say out loud. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell read an e-mail from the daughter of a 9/11 victim: “It’s not natural to celebrate the death of someone. But somehow it feels natural tonight.”
We can’t help but re-live September 11, 2001, today. Perhaps it’s overly altruistic, but maybe—just maybe—the celebrated destruction of this evil doer will compel us to come together as a nation and a world—the way we did when he committed his most evil deed almost 10 years ago.
Let the healing begin.