Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 9:33 PM on Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let's mark Bin Laden's death by remembering those who died 9/11


Patrick Michael Aranyos.

David Arce.

Michael George Arczynski.

Louis Arena.

Adam P. Arias ...

So begins the list of 2,977 innocent people killed in the events of Sept. 11, 2001. As we cheer the death of the man who instigated that terror, we should remember the innocent more than we celebrate the death of the evil.

Nineteen other men also died Sept. 11, the hijackers who seized four planes and flew them into the World Trade Towers, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa. Sunday, U.S. special forces killed one man, Osama Bin Laden, the founder of Al Qaeda and the man who took credit for inspiring a reign of tower that culminated in the most heinous attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor.

When President Barack Obama announced Bin Laden's death, Americans cheered. Thousands in New York and Washington, D.C., held spontaneous celebrations. They waved American flags, sang the National Anthem, and at Ground Zero, lit candles in memory of the dead.

It has been a long, cold decade. The shock of Sept. 11 never seemed to go away. We've fought a war in Iraq and still fight in Afghanistan. Our economy reeled from the terror, seemed to recover, and then wobbled again with the Great Recession. Thousands more have died in terror attacks and in battle in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever American forces have hunted down evil human beings who use terror against innocents.

Three presidents hunted Bin Laden. The hunt had been so long many thought Bin Laden had slipped away, never to be caught and to die an old, sick man in a cold, dark Afghanistan cave.

But the persistent and patient wrath of America caught him. When Bin Laden chose to fight and not surrender, an unnamed soldier pulled a trigger and shot Bin Laden in the head, and so he got the justice of a bullet and not of a jury. That soldier was the tip of a sharp and massive spear: the enormous military might of a nation determined to kill a man who through his evil had killed many.

The Long War, the war against those who would use terrorism, did not end on May Day. As Obama has warned, we should be ready for reprisal attacks. To paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, the war will not end with a bang but a whimper. The end started with one clean gunshot, though.

Those who hate America and civilization so much they would fly jets into tall buildings and force children to strap on suicide bomb vests say they seek glory through martyrdom. They will bluster and swear courage. Their commanders may urge more attacks.

But in the night when they try to rest as U.S. Marines and soldiers hunt them down, when the bombs shake their hiding places, the terror they inflict on others will come back to them. They will think, "The Americans got Bin Laden. Surely they will get me."

And they will be right. The surety of our wrath will give them pause. In that pause, let us hope their fear leads them to put down their arms, and they find courage not in making terror but in making peace.

That is all America seeks. We do not want to send good men and women off to battle. We do not want to be in Afghanistan. We do not want to sweep out of the sky in Pakistani cities. We want to go home. We want to be where we were on Sept. 10, 2001. We want peace.

Peace will come when our world understands our differences are best settled through civil debate. War ends when we choose to no longer suffer it.

Peace also comes with memory.

Jack Charles Aron.

Joshua Aron.

Richard Avery Aronow.

Japhet Jesse Aryee.

Patrick Asante.

Carl Asaro ...

It's a long list. Remember them all.