COMMENTARY | BROCKTON, Mass. — “He’s dead! He’s dead! Osama Bin Laden is dead.”
Those were the words I heard my brother-in-law yell as he sprang through the front door at approximately 11 p.m. on Sunday night. I came out of my bedroom and saw my brother-in-law, a smile across his face like he just won the lottery. I asked him what he was talking about, and he replied: “You didn’t hear? We got Osama Bin Laden. He’s dead.”
As the sweet words rolled out of his mouth, my sister came through the front door carrying their newborn baby boy. We all sat down around the TV. And it was verified. Osama Bin Laden was dead.
My brother-in-law, Derrick, has been in the military for the last 19 years. He enlisted shortly after the Gulf War. Although I am not too sure his rank, I know he just recently returned from Afghanistan in December 2010. He was lucky enough to be able to get home in time to be with his baby boy for his very first Christmas.
We talked for a good hour about Osama Bin Laden. Derrick was very emotional. A lot of tears were shed. We all felt very patriotic at the moment. Though we have been split by politics in the past, we were able to look beyond that and just happy to be an American. It personally reminded me of the week after Sept. 11, 2001. During this tragedy, we came together. And now, 10 years later, we came together once again.
This time, it was in victory.
For Derrick, the death of Osama Bin Laden represented a more intense victory. He has spoken of friends he lost in the war against terror. And on Sunday, he spoke of them again. He was proud to be a part of the military. He was proud that his friends died for the freedom of his country. He said he felt it was a personal victory. Derrick said it was the second best day of his life, second only to the birth of his son.
As we sat there with the news on the television, we saw shots of Boston. The local news was covering the college kids who were running out into the streets. Derrick said he felt that fulfilled. He felt that the kids marching the streets made him feel appreciated. I can’t fathom what he feels. But as my sister and I looked at him, his eyes red from the welling tears, we knew that as big a victory this is for all Americans, this must be an even bigger night for all those who serve in the armed forces.
We talked about the war on terror, and we all agreed that this wasn’t the end. In fact, Derrick said he thought it was just the beginning of a new war. He felt there would be a large backlash from al-Qaeda and didn’t think the death of Osama bin Laden meant the absolute death of al-Qaeda. He did say that he felt there would probably be more attacks on foreign U.S. embassies, and there would probably be more attacks on the military on the ground. But he happily stated it was something we could handle, and that the war was definitely coming to an end.
Around midnight, my sister and Derrick gathered up my little nephew and decided to head back their house. It’s times like these I’m glad they live right down the street. Derrick seemed very excited to get to work tomorrow and talk to his fellow army buddies about the death of Bin Laden.
I can’t even begin to imagine how great it must feel for those who have fought for us, who have protected our freedoms. For those who fought to get revenge on the mastermind behind the biggest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. I only got a small insight into how it feels for those who are serving in the military. I saw Derrick sit on my couch and reflect on the friends he lost. I saw him glow about the victory. I saw him appreciate the gratefulness the Boston college kids were showing him. For those all across the word who fought terrorism, they’re probably feeling a whole mess of emotions. But for now, the only emotion I have in gratefulness. Grateful for the men and women in uniform, and grateful that I have a family member who is dedicated to his job.