On Sept. 11, 2001, I was on my way to work at Lewis Bakery in Evansville, Ind. I was in the drive-through at a fast food restaurant when the radio station broke in with news.
That news seemed surreal at first: one jet plane, then another, flew into the Twin Towers. It didn’t seem possible.
It was just the beginning.
In the coming days and weeks, we learned who was responsible for the attacks that claimed almost 3,000 lives.
It was a terrorist group known simply as al Qaeda. And its leader, Osama Bin Laden claimed responsibility for the attacks. He was, instantly, Public Enemy No. 1. And rightly so.
He became the face we associated with the murder of 3,000 people. He became the face of terrorism for Americans. He became, for so many of us, the face of evil.
It seemed for so long that he would not be held accountable for what he’d done.
But Sunday, his life was taken. In an operation executed almost flawlessly by a team of the Navy SEALs best forces, Bin Laden met his end.
There has been, understandably, a sense of satisfaction over Bin Laden’s death. He was responsible for the worst attack on American soil. He was held accountable.
Killing Bin Laden will not bring about the end of terrorism. Little will.
It’s still a wildly dangerous world out there, and there are folks of many nationalities and faiths who despise the United States and the principles we hold dear. And for awhile, some of those folks will demand retribution for an act that was in itself, an act of retribution. In fact, they already have demanded retribution.
But for now, the head of the snake that is al Qaeda was cut off Sunday.
The President, I think, said it best from the confines of the White House Situation Room, according to the New York Times.
As word came from CIA Director Leon Panetta, the situation room reportedly went quiet until the President spoke.
“We got him.”
And finally, without fanfare Sunday night, to the nation, his message was simple:
“Justice has been done.”