Death of bin Laden ends painful chapter

Published 9:14 am Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sunday’s killing of Osama bin Laden brings closure, at least in some small measure, to one of the most painful and difficult chapters in American history.

We remember exactly where we were on Sept. 11, 2001. Perhaps in even more vivid and excruciating detail, we remember the overwhelming feelings of shock, fear, anger and sadness that overcame us as individuals and a nation. It was truly the day on which America was forever changed.

We were all profoundly impacted that day, yet each in very different and personal ways. Most of us, at the very least, sensed an unusual feeling of insecurity and a strange new kind of fear.

Many of us knew someone who was directly impacted. Some of us even lost loved ones that day. One common, uniting feeling was the desire to bring justice to those responsible.

Few on that day could have predicted that the manhunt to track down the mastermind behind the terrorist attacks would take nearly a decade. We knew his name, what he looked like and who his friends were. We even had a fair idea where he was hiding. Yet he proved extremely elusive.

Monday morning, as details started to emerge about the military operation that ultimately brought justice to Osama bin Laden, a nation collectively began to exhale after 10 long years of waiting and wondering. And as it became clear that the team of Navy Seals who flawlessly executed the operation were stationed right here in Hampton Roads, those of us who call this region home were struck not only by a vague sense of closure but by an extra shot of pride.