I don't think my personal views on Usama Bin Laden or September 11th are that noteworthy or novel- I'm like many of you in that I remember the day of the attacks vividly and have been absorbing the effects of such for many years thereafter.
My initial reaction to the terrorist attacks of 2001 was intense- a deep sense of sadness and loss of faith in the security of this country. Living 15 miles away from NYC and having worked at the Twin Towers through November 2000, I had a connection to those events. There was a hole created by Usama Bin Laden and his subordinates- time fills it in to an extent, but the crater's ridge will always remain visible.
Upon learning of his death today, I was mostly curious as to the details. I certainly didn't feel patriotic or "proud to be an American." I'm already proud of our history and its principles. We live in an age of deconstructionism, pessimism and divisiveness. The past ten years- where Bin Laden's legacy is its most concentrated-- only served to prove that fact. Yes, we can find many faults in what we've done since September 11th, but do those mistakes negate the many great achievements from our larger history? I've grown very tired of the negative piling-on. We can be a great people and we're also screwed up. We're human-- get over it and move on.
I hope that, beyond the damage it would cause Al Qaeda, this day marks a psychological turning point for us- that we don't have to wonder if this person is still around to set in motion further attacks. In terms of justice, killing him is a drop in the bucket towards putting things back into balance. He's one guy- an innovator at his business, but no more important to his organization as Ray Kroc was to McDonald's. The worldwide business of terrorism is not undone.
This doesn't mean we diminish the death of a criminal who caused great harm to citizens throughout the world. We should take comfort in knowing that, despite many obstacles and leads going dead cold, we remained loyal to fulfilling the justice owed to this person. Now, we should think about the bigger issue- does Bin Laden continue to define us or do we find a way to really bury the son-of-a-bitch by uniting to do bigger things again?