Osama bin Laden: Stand and Cheer

OK. I wasn’t going to opine today on the fact that Osama bin Laden is now sleeping with the fishes. I missed the announcement last night by the Prez, and the reports via by BlackBerry and websites pointed to a major story and certainly one that every other pundit would be warbling about in dead tree publications and online.

So as I took to the keyboard at around 4 a.m. I finished a really trivial post about Pippa — “Her Royal Hotness” — and made my way to the gym to chase the treadmill for an hour and watch TV.

And wow. On every screen — from every cable network — came pictures of celebrations in New York, Washington, Columbus at Ohio State and elsewhere. And mostly it was young people singing the national anthem, wrapping themselves in the American flag, shouting U.S.A., U.S.A.

I’m not sure killing bin Laden brings closure to 9/11. That strikes me as a personal decision on the part of the families who lost friends and loved ones on that day. And for the families — and members of the military — who have sacrificed so much during the past decade as we have slogged it out in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I go to D.C. every few months on business. And on the return flight from Reagan National to Cleveland the gate attendant offers members of the military the option of boarding the flight first. And on several occasions, immediately following that announcement, the other passengers stood and cheered.

We’re cheering now not just for the death of the terrorist bin Laden. Although that is reason enough. But we’re cheering for the members of our military who take great risks to keep us safe and to make sure that the bad guys can run, but ultimately they can’t hide. And we’re cheering for a country that still believes in freedom — and isn’t afraid to make some tough calls to make sure that others don’t forget that fact.

And I know this country has big problems. But we still manage to get things right most of the time.

And when I see streets full of young people chanting U.S.A. and waving the American flag — and there is no football game involved — then all of us can rest easy. We’re going to be OK.

Just sayin’.

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4 responses to “Osama bin Laden: Stand and Cheer

  1. burghthoughts

    What a great day….love the Luca Brasi quote!!! I can only hope they wrapped the bastard in bacon and nailed an american flag on his forehead before they threw his ass overboard.

  2. Brian "Breeze" Wooley

    Glad for justice to have been served. Grateful that the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces has been vindicated. Hopeful that the families and friends of those lost on 9/11 and in the “Global War on Terror” since may know some measure of peace.

    I also hope that the spontaneous celebrations were in fact the moving displays of patriotism and community they’re being hailed as, and not simply an excuse for young folks to take to the streets, whoop it up, and maybe get their mugs plastered across the media. I’d wager it’s an even-money split at the moment, based on the coverage I’ve seen–and your football reference above makes me think I’m not the only one.

    • Brian,

      I remember the days following 9/11 — and for some weeks after — when many people flew the flag and when the nation did some together. I sense some of that in the celebrations last night. The unity won’t last. But Americans want something to cheer about right now. And killing bin Laden tops the list for the moment.

  3. Brian "Breeze" Wooley

    I recall that as well, Rob. And I’m glad to have witnessed it, fleeting though it was; it’s good to know it’s possible, if not likely.

    I also remember that time of unity as being more solemn and heartfelt, and much less reminiscent of a Stanley Cup championship rally.

    That said, I think the celebrations might have been more warranted (if not more meaningful) if they had been preceded by a capture/trial/conviction/sentencing scenario, rather than simply a battlefield execution–i.e., justice truly being served. That might have brought a measure of closure, and would have been a triumph of the American way.

    But we’ll never know.

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