Sometimes I go back and read something I’ve written here and I realize that I expressed myself perfectly and I wouldn’t change a thing. Other times, I realize I didn’t make my point well and I wish I could go back and re-write everything. Yesterday was one of those days. I was going to just leave it alone, but I feel really strongly about this, so I decided to write a follow-up to yesterday’s post.
Last night I watched the news…the continued celebrating in the streets. The dancing and singing. The FDNY Pipes and Drums marching around Ground Zero. There was much celebration and happiness.
I was in the city on September 11th. I watched the towers fall while sitting in my office conference room, scared to death at what was coming next. I walked over the 59th Street bridge while watching the smoke rise up from downtown. We lived across the street from Ground Zero for years and passed it whenever we went to work or out to dinner or anywhere…a constant reminder of the devastation and death.
It was nice to know that the person responsible for all of that was dead. It was nice to know that justice had been served.
I wrote yesterday’s post early in the day, just after hearing the news of Osama bin Laden’s death and that is how I was feeling when I wrote.
On the way home, as the bus went up the highway, we were passed by four speeding police cars with their lights on and sirens screaming. They were headed straight for the George Washington Bridge. We all looked at each other with terror on our faces and we held our collective breath. “What if…?” was the unspoken question on everyone’s lips. As we passed the ramp to the bridge, we saw the accident that was the reason for the police and we all exhaled. I stuck my nose back into my book with a sigh of relief…but the fear remained high on my mind.
But I realized that for a lot of people, bin Laden’s death marked the end of something. The end of evil. The end of terrorism. The end of the war. Allyson posted yesterday that people were even emailing her to ask when Neal was coming home…because, after all, bin Laden was dead. The answer is still February…because Neal’s mission…like thousand’s of soldiers’ missions…has nothing to do with bin Laden. And Neal’s mission is not over. The war on terror is far from over.
Yes, there is one less evil man in the world today. But there are a hundred evil men out there clamoring to take his place. This is not over.
I hope the news of bin Laden’s death gives some closure to the victims of 9/11 and to other people that he’s hurt in his lifetime. I hope that this death sends a message that the US is not to be fucked with because we will hunt you down…even if it takes 10 years. I hope that there are no retaliations against the troops…or against anyone for what has happened.
But most of all…I hope that we can all remember that the evil and the hate are not gone. We have to keep fighting and keep doing our part to make the world a better place. And maybe, someday, the fight will be over.