I was sewing away on Sunday night, trying to make more cloth diapers for Laird, and was listening to the radio when out of the blue President Obama’s voice came on instead. Only sort of paying attention at first, I eventually stopped what I was doing and listened to him describe the intelligence they had been following for over 8 months to capture the man who had attacked our country that fateful morning of September 11, 2001. Not realizing he had already said it, I listened intently, hoping he would tell us that Osama bin Laden was finally dead. When he finally stated those words, I was in disbelief. “Oh my God, Curt, can you believe it?! Osama is dead! He is dead!” Though it is hard for me to celebrate the death of anyone, I was relieved and glad to know that this wily, hateful terrorist who had caused the death of thousands and put fear into the hearts of many more, was finally gone. And that those who had lost loved ones in the tragedies of his terrorist acts, had finally received justice and a sense of peace.
I look back to that morning of September 11, 2001 and, like most, remember exactly where I was, meticulously dissecting a cadaver in anatomy lab. One of my dental school classmates came in and informed us that something horrible had happened. As we all know, two planes had been flown into the World Trade Centers, another had been hijacked and was missing and yet another had been crashed into the Pentagon. When others asked who could possibly have done this, I felt in my heart that only terrorists could have devised and carried out such an unimaginable and evil plan.
In the days and months following that dark day, I was amazed to see Americans of all colors, ethnic groups and religions come together as a grand sense of patriotism swept across the country. We were proud to be Americans, for the freedom to do as we choose and opportunities that we are fortunate to have living in this country. Yet, as the days and years have passed by, that patriotism has slowly faded. This may be due to seemingly endless wars, the recession and simply a lack of morale. Even when we traveled abroad, I was embarrassed to admit I was American, as I could feel the anger and contempt that other foreign travelers had for us. I had lost the love and pride for my country that I had directly following 9/11. But my hope is that with the death of Osama comes a celebration of all the lives that were lost because of him and the remembrance of all that our country truly stands for. Not Mcmansions, or fancy gadgets or over-indulgence, but for the simple things that most of us take for granted and which a greater part of the world is not lucky enough to have. Freedom, justice and peace. These three fundamental rights have made our country such a wonderful place to call home. God bless America.