Monday, May 02, 2011

Stand United

You know, I'm not really sure how to begin this post. I almost feel like it's an obligatory thing, to share my thoughts on the news that has unfolded over the last 12 hours or so.

I remember where I was on September 11, 2001. I'll always remember what I was doing when the news came over the radio. The image of the plumes of smoke rising from the towers before they fell will be burned into my memory for as long as I live. Will I say the same about the night of May 1, 2011?

Being someone that doesn't have much of a life, I got home from work last night, ate dinner, and then started thinking about going to bed. It was a little after 10 when the urge to hit the hay started to get me. And then I noticed a message from someone on Facebook announcing that President Obama would be making an important announcement at 10:30pm.

My mind started to race a little. Why would the president address the nation that late on a Sunday night? It had to be bad news, right? Was our economy finally collapsing? Did our nation's leaders decide that this democracy thing just isn't working for us anymore, so we're establishing the first Galactic Empire? It was late, I was tired, and this is where my mind goes when it needs sleep.

And then the news started trickling out of the TV, little by little. The talking heads were expecting the president to announce that Osama bin Laden had been caught and killed. That kind of news is worth staying awake for.

There were delays. The announcement that was due at 10:30 didn't actually occur until closer to 11:30. But it was worth the wait. President Obama stood at his podium and began his speech by saying, "Tonight I can report to the American people and to the world, that the United States has conducted an operation that has killed Osama bin Laden--the leader of al-Qaeda and a terrorist who is responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women and children."

Now, there is a part of me that knows that it's wrong to celebrate the death of another human being. It's that part of me that's supposed to be optimistic for mankind. It's that part of me that's supposed to hope for a better tomorrow in which even the worst that humanity has to offer can somehow find redemption and salvation. And I really don't think it's right to climb poles and dance in the streets wallowing in the suffering of anyone, even someone as bad as bin Laden. At the same time, I couldn't help but feel, like I'm sure millions of Americans were feeling, a certain sense that justice had been served.

Since the announcement was made last night, I've heard a lot of people giving their two cents. Mostly, it's been people calling the morning radio shows, deciding to spin it for the postitive or negative, depending on their political leanings. And I really wish people wouldn't do that. News like this shouldn't be a stepping stone for anyone, and I don't want to use it to promote my own personal politics or beliefs.

I try to keep this blog as non-political as possible. It's never my intent to promote one wing or the other. Instead, I'll just say this: I believe that no matter one's personal beliefs or ideals, we should come together as Americans and remain united. We live in a country where we're given a lot of incredible freedoms that we often take for granted. And too often, I think we forget that those freedoms have come at a high cost.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the enlisted men and women who make sacrifices on a regular basis, and have made sacrifices, not only in the last ten years, but in previous decades, and in over two centuries of our nation's existence. And please remember, just because one man has been removed from the equation, it doesn't mean that our fight against terrorism is over.

There's a lot that's gone into keeping civilians safe from terrorist attacks. There's a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the general public may never know about. But there's no sense in assigning blame for missteps on one administration or the other. Can't we just thank our elected leaders for doing the jobs that we've elected them to do, no matter what side of the aisle they're seated on? And more importantly, can we thank the men and women in the military who do a job that many of us are unable or even unwilling to do ourselves?

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