Last night was a typical Sunday night for me. Ten o'clock rolled around and I headed upstairs to bed. And, as per usual, I checked my Twitter account one more time before I settled into sleep. I started reading tweets about President Obama addressing the nation about a 'national security issue' imminently. And it wasn't about Khadafi. My heart started to pound - I was nervous. But why?
I turned on Wolf Blitzer on CNN and watched as the various journalists discussed what the information to be shared could possibly be. They were very careful at first to preface their statements with the 'unconfirmed' label. But finally, John King stopped all the tapdancing around the subject: Osama bin Laden is dead.
As I sat in my bed, alone in a quiet house, I surprised myself. I wept. Uncontrollably. It was a shock to me how many emotions were swirling around in my head and heart. Here we are, almost ten years later and I'm significantly removed from my old life in Washington, DC - geographically and substantively; literally and figuratively. It was jarring how much it still affected me. I felt like I had had a weight on my chest for ten years that I didn't even know about. And it had finally been lifted.
The death of Osama bin Laden will never bring back the 3,000 Americans that perished on September 11, 2001 of course. But, I truly hope that their families will feel some small bit of justice and possibly closure due to this triumph. The United States military and our allies around the world have lost brave men and women in this fight, and although we will always mourn their loss, perhaps their families can take some comfort in the fact that their sacrifice was not in vain.
It's been a painful ten years. Sure, we've all moved on. We had to. We've gone about our lives; marrying, working, having children. We've tucked September 11th in the back of our mind and threw ourselves into the healing process. But, we have never forgotten. The news of the death of bin Laden conjures images of the most painful day in our national psyche. But it also brings with it the ability for us to close the chapter. Now, with a small measure of relief, and an indelible vigilance that was born on 9/11, we can start to look forward toward the future.
"Let us remember that we can do these things not just because of wealth or power, but because of who we are: one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."