When I found out about the death of Osama Bin Laden (whose code name was "Geronimo"), I was shocked and memories of 9/11 flooded my mind. On that fateful day, I walked into work and saw a bunch of people running towards the television screens. A colleague told me that one of the Twin Towers had been hit. Perhaps due to my naivete, I said, "Geez, that's awful, how can that happen?" Another colleague then said, "Well, maybe it wasn't an accident, it could very well be an attack." My eyes widened, and I thought, this man could be right but I sure hope that he's wrong. A few minutes later, the second plane struck and we just all stared, horrified at what we were seeing on the television screens. Some of us were in tears.
In the midst of this mayhem, I was frantically calling one of my closest friends, who worked at the World Trade Center. Millions of people were calling one another that day, and the phone lines were busy. Although I worked in Midtown Manhattan, I lived downtown (20 minutes walking distance from Ground Zero), and my family and friends from all over the world were trying to get a hold of me. Luckily, e-mail (thank goodness for the Internet!) was still working and I was able to send word out that I was fine. Eventually, I was able to reach my friend, who left her house late that morning and was spared from the carnage. Some of her colleagues weren't so lucky though, her company lost over a dozen people.
It's hard to believe that almost 10 years have passed since the worst terrorist attack ever to hit U.S, where over 3,000 people died. For some, Bin Laden's death brings a sense of peace, justice and closure. I was saddened though, when I saw people on the news cheering and chanting "USA, USA," and proudly holding up signs that read "Obama 1, Osama 0." The so-called "war on terrorism" is not a zero-sum game. As in all wars, nobody is truly victorious. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have already claimed the lives of more than 7,000 coalition troops from over 20 countries. This number presumably includes the death of 109 soldiers, as of May 3rd, from Puerto Rico or of Puerto Rican descent. Let's hope that Bin Laden's death will eventually lead to the demise of Al Qaeda. Most important of all, let's bring our troops home.
(The image above was obtained from The Daily Mail).