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The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Osama Bin Laden dead

Osama+Bin+Laden+dead

In this day and age of instant news it is hard to for Americans to keep their attention spans on one event for too long. So in the midst of Weinergate and possible Blake Lively nudie pics, I ask that we jump in the way back machine to about a month ago. If you recall, on May 2 Osama Bin Laden was found and killed by an elite group of Navy Seals in Pakistan.

The death of Bin Laden represented more than just the killing of a man who had perpetrated mass murder on American soil. It represented a collective sigh of relief for a generation who saw the world change in and instant. It is cliché to say, but what 9/11 is to our generation is what the Kennedy Assassination is to the previous generation and what Pearl Harbor is to the generation before that. My mother can still describe the exact scene as a young girl sitting in front of the television at her grandmother’s house watching intently as President Kennedy was killed.  The same circumstances can apply to our generation in terms of 9/11. You may not remember last Wednesday, but you will most certainly remember for the rest of your life where you were when the towers went down.

To see the pure jubilation and the crowds of people that gathered across the country in celebration of this man’s death is to truly understand the impact he had. It is sad to say, but Osama Bin Laden may have been the most influential person of our generation. The events of 9/11 would resonate over the next decade more so than any of us would have liked to believe it would at the time. The feeling was that a war effort would be quick and efficient in Afghanistan with the death of Bin Laden being a matter of imminence. Almost 10 years later, America is still heavily involved in war efforts within the country. Iraq was also thrown in within that period as sort of a bonus war thanks to the Bush Administration.  Since 2003, the effort in Iraq has led to the deaths of 104,924 people in total. 92,003 of those have been Iraqi civilians.

With the Iraq War, the world saw the toppling of a brutal dictatorship within the Middle East. Sadaam Hussein was brought to justice in front of our eyes with a public Iraqi trial and ultimately a death sentence that was carried out before the world. Yet the same feeling of joy was not displayed within America for his death as was shown for the death Bin Laden. Now comparing the two is sort of like comparing apples to oranges. But with the feeling of an unjustified war lingering and the fact that he never truly committed atrocities in America, his death was never nearly as important to the American people as Bin Laden’s.

Now what does that say about this generation of Americans? It reiterates the fact that this country can unite together in the face of tragedy. I have always said that the best I have ever felt about this country were in the days following 9/11. It was in those days that we truly saw the courageous nature of people and witnessed the potential that America possesses within itself. It would be in the years that followed, however, that an overwhelming feeling of fear would take over. Fear of ever having to go through another event like 9/11 led to questionable decisions being overlooked for the supposed overall good and protection of America.  And that is where Bin Laden was truly influential. Just look at the Patriot Act.

To not acknowledge the impact he had on the United States is a mistake. Granted, he was one of the most reviled characters of my lifetime and the news of his death did bring a smile to my face. But in a way, the man unfortunately achieved what he set out to accomplish. Without the actions that he set into place, this past decade could have looked vastly different. Who knows? Maybe George Bush would have been a fantastic president (Scratch that, I’m getting ahead of myself here).  To say that certain situations wouldn’t have been vastly different is a misstep.  The recent financial collapse due to the recession may have not been as devastating if America was not bankrolling two wars. Our generation may be coming out of college to employment opportunities instead of the lack thereof that exists today. And President Obama may have not had the same momentum going into the 2008 election in which he rode an anti-Republican wave, among other factors, all the way to the Oval Office.

But through the adversity, this country did witness good come out of a horrible situation. We witnessed the courage of the young men and women within our armed forces who served valiantly and honorably to protect the home front. We witnessed communities come together to combat the financial crisis and keep hope alive for a future generation. And we partook in the election of America’s first African-American President, which I believe will go down as this generation’s crowning achievement.

So through it all, it is understandable to feel conflicted at the mass happiness of someone’s death. Personally, I was asleep when the news broke of the killing and I had mixed emotions about the celebrations that occurred throughout the country. My feeling was that if the majority of Americans did not have the energy to protest a war that cost thousands of soldier’s lives on the basis of false information, then we should certainly not partake in a party for an accomplishment that we did not personally achieve. But as I thought about it more, I finally understood what it was that this country celebrated. It was the understanding that a generation was thrust into warfare unexpectedly and unwillingly. It was the recognition of those who sacrificed everything for the common good of the entire world. And it was the understanding that the symbol of fear that had loomed over our formative years was gone for good. In a sense, Bin Laden’s death provided a hope for future generations that the words insurgent or terrorist are not part of their daily vocabulary. It provided the hope that our children will hopefully never witness the heartache and pain of war. And it provided the end to a major symbol of evil throughout the globe. So here is to the hope that the era of his type of influence is dead and gone. And with that, hopefully we can bring our men and women overseas home for good. The key word is hopefully.

 

 

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Osama Bin Laden dead