Looking back on the effects of 9/11 after bin Laden’s death

By Aaron Brooks

On September 11, 2001 I was in my high school welding class. Welding started at 7 a.m., and we were just getting ready to take off our leathers and go on a short break before resuming the second hour. Just before 8 a.m., Beau Caldwell, a classmate walked in late and said that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We turned on CNN.

People drank their sodas and exchange light-mannered small talk while watching the smoking North Tower; the agreed upon hypothesis was that of a drunk pilot.

At 8:03 a.m., we watch as Flight 175 careened into the South Tower. Nothing existed in the room but silence and fear.

Our lives got inevitably more complicated after that day. School was no longer just about socializing with friends and learning some useful information; instead, it was a waiting period that we had to endure before Uncle Sam placed a rifle in our hands and let us pursue our vendetta.

As the years passed, the thirst for vengeance waned in some and grew in others, but no matter the politics, we still were united in the belief that Osama bin Laden must die.

As even more years expired, the fear that bin Laden had inflicted subsided. No longer was he the main attraction for our military circus, and no longer did people fear traveling by plane or living in one of our most prosperous cities.

Some people believed he had died of natural causes, while others maintained he was held up in a cave in some obscure mountainous region; either way, we would not hear about him again.

That is why Sunday night at 11:47 p.m. will be one of the moments I will never forget. After finishing a research paper and emailing it to myself, I signed out of Hotmail to read, “Osama bin Laden Killed.”

Relief came over me with a touch of astonishment, astonishment like I was first told there was no Santa Claus.

I was not overtly happy with the news. To me, bin Laden’s death was like the end of the longest, worst day ever; not necessarily an occasion for celebration. My truly good day will come when my friends are home and my rights are restored.

I know after talking with a number of students on Monday, many of you are relieved that bin Laden is dead, happy that the United States killed him, but also worried about the future.

For those students who still worry about others taking bin Laden’s place, therefore leading to no real change, I offer you this.

Above all else in these past 10 years, the United States has sent a clear and forceful promise to those that wish us harm: we will destroy everything that you know, and even if it takes us 20 years, you shall not dare to sleep soundly, because one night we will come.