Nine and a half years ago, I was sitting at my desk on a Tuesday morning when I received an email from Matt. The email said that a plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City. I ran in to tell my boss - the president of the company. He didn’t believe me. No, he wasn’t shocked. He flat out didn’t believe it.
When a second plane hit, the shock came. As did the comments. Despite knowing that I am an American, this man stood before me and talked about how the US deserved it for not acting in a recent incident that occurred with his home country. I had never heard of the event he described, but his sentiment was just plain wrong.
As we (the staff) scrambled to find news sources that were working, we found out that the towers were collapsing. We didn’t have a TV, so a co-worker and I walked to a nearby diner and watched CNN in disbelief with the other patrons. It was a somber atmosphere. Even had the towers not fallen, we knew that many died that day. I don’t even remember where or how I heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon or the fourth plane that crashed in the field in Pennsylvania. I just knew that my country was under attack and it left me in shock, feeling helpless at being so far away from my family.
I feared for my family. President George W. Bush’s brother, Jeb, was the Governor of Florida. What if they decided to go after Bush’s family? My family lived in the capital. Would they attack there too?
There were so many fears those days.
There were so many tears those days.
The grief for the victims and the loss to our country was palpable. People who disagreed with each other united in the effort to wake up each morning and move on. A new generation lost its innocence in the face of unspeakable tragedy - much like the generation who lived through Pearl Harbor. Only this time, the images and the details were immediate with absolutely no delay of transmission.
Every day after 9/11, I came home and was glued to the TV. Tears flowed regularly as I watched devastated families and friends search for missing loved ones. Seeing hope lost as hours, days and weeks went by with no word. This lasted for weeks until my husband finally said
On September 11, 2001, a nation lost 3,000 human lives and no one rejoiced. Later, we saw videos of Al-Qaida’s form of arrogant rejoicing.
On May 1, 2011, the life of the man who was the mastermind behind those attacks has prompted rejoicing in the streets.
Some would argue he deserved to die. A life for a life. I’m personally troubled by these events because I grew up in a country believing in due process for all - even the likes of Ted Bundy and Timothy McVeigh. Even Saddam Hussein had a trial, even if it was only a formality and we all knew what the end result would be.
A man’s death - evil though he may have been - doesn’t warrant rejoicing. Relief certainly. His reign of terror is over. He can no longer spearhead murdering innocent people. He can no longer spread his hatred.
No, we won’t mourn the loss of his life as we did the loss of the thousands of lives he ended in his years of reign over Al-Qaida, but is it right to rejoice in his death, just because he is evil and we consider ourselves good?
And if we didn’t appreciate the gloating of Al-Qaida, how is it any different for us to celebrate his death?