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Bin Laden death brings closure, unifies nation

Once every couple of years there is a night which people will never forget. A time where citizens stay up late, huddled together with friends and family near their televisions or computers, watching, waiting, as the media reports and the nation holds its breath. Last night was one of those.

In a late-night address Sunday, May 1, President Barack Obama announced that after almost a decade of searching, Osama bin Laden, for many the face of modern terrorism, had been shot and killed at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

After giving a brief summary on the events leading up to this momentous occasion, President Obama reported that, after receiving intelligence last August about a possible lead to bin Laden’s whereabouts, he and his national security team met for several months to discuss the validity of these reports.

Yesterday, President Obama directed a military strike on the compound bin Laden was hiding in after deciding that enough intelligence had been obtained from informants. Special Forces were sent in and, after a firefight between American and al-Qaeda forces, bin Laden was shot in the head and taken away in an American helicopter. No Americans were harmed in this operation.

President Obama’s speech was magnificent, the best in his career. Although he delayed it several times throughout the night, when he finally made his way to the podium he issued an informative, well thought-out and passionate address which assured the nation and brought an end to a global conflict.

Immediately after his speech, groups of people spontaneously began to assemble across America, specifically at the White House, Ground Zero and Times Square, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and continually chanting, “USA! USA!”

In light of President Obama’s announcement, reporters and U.S. citizens began to speculate what this might result in for the nation. Would, as some believed, the death of bin Laden signal the end to the war on terror, breaking the long-standing vitality of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization? Or, more likely, would the group be fueled by the killing, and retaliate against Americans both home and abroad?

President Obama shared these concerns, and said in his speech:

“The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda. Yet his death does not mark the end of our effort. There?s no doubt that al-Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must — and we will — remain vigilant at home and abroad.”

A few hours after the news of bin Laden’s death was released, police patrols were enhanced in major metropolitan areas. As of today, while the Department of Homeland Security has not increased threat levels, they urge citizens overseas to remain on alert and warned of the likelihood of oncoming violence.

Here in the United States, the overall feeling is that of celebration and remembrance. The personal campaign of a man who is responsible for almost two decades of terror and the murder of thousands of men, women and children has finally been halted. At last, there is closure for the families of his victims.

As a nation, we can begin to heal our wounds and put to rest the horror of 9/11. We will never forget that day, as many of us still remember exactly where we were when we received the news that an attack had been made on American soil, and we will ultimately enact justice, no matter how long it takes. Last night, President Obama confirmed that the nation will never accept defeat from terrorist forces by stating:

“… As a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens and our friends and allies. We will be true to the values that make us who we are. And on nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to al Qaeda?s terror: Justice has been done.”

In the end, this event will ultimately bring us, as Americans, closer together. United against a common enemy, we can search for justice no matter our race, religion, background or creed. President Obama addressed this last night when he said:

“… Let us think back to the sense of unity that prevailed on 9/11. I know that it has, at times, frayed. Yet today?s achievement is a testament to the greatness of our country and the determination of the American people … Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

With such a significant event now carved forever in our nation’s history, no one can predict what is to come. Hopefully though, the death of bin Laden will mark a crucial turning point in the war on terror and the war in the Middle East. The only thing to do now is to wait and see what transpires.

For more political opinions, read the April 1 article, Sever U.S. involvement in Libya.

*Editor’s note: This photo by Josh Pesavento (Flickr user broma) is used in accordance with its Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

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    Sharon ScharfSep 7, 2011 at 12:02 am

    We were small, but mighty!