It’s 2001. I’m sitting in my second period high school Biology class. Usually the first five minutes we’re getting settled. But this time the teacher comes in and she’s disheveled. Something isn’t right. I sit there with one of my friends as we whisper about what it could be. I hear something about one of our teacher’s family members, I think her son, who is in the Navy. She’s worried. Maybe it was just something that happened with him. Then we hear the news. A plane has crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. We move to our third period class and watch as the second plane hits the other tower. We hear the news. Then everything is shut off and we’re clueless for the rest of the day.
It’s madness once I get home. My mom has some gas, but will need more, and in the midst of gas prices rapidly increasing we head to the gas station and wait for at least an hour. As we’re waiting, I see three airplanes fly over me. Obviously, it was a no fly zone, so it was someone important.
In the years in between I’ve had family members and friends join the military. One spent quite some time there, and you just worry every day. You wonder with every bit on the news of another troop being killed in the line of duty. Thankfully, he came home safe.
It’s 10 p.m., Sunday May 1. It’s been a ridiculously long day and all I can look forward to is going to bed early, however, we were washing a new comforter set and knew it’d be a late night. I’m sitting on Twitter and Facebook as I see a tweet about the President coming on at 10:30 to make an unknown announcement.
“That’s weird,” I think to myself. And then more tweets roll through, all saying just an announcement. I turn it to CNN, where they slowly begin to move on with what this news could be about. It’s not about Libya, it’s a bigger issue. Then it becomes an issue of national security.
So, at this point, all we know is that the President is coming on at 10:30 p.m. to make a serious announcement about our national security. I’m a little nervous on what this announcement could be. And I’m sitting there, interacting with dozens of people on social media–something that wasn’t as widely used in 2001.
Word spread on Twitter, and we’re all wondering. Then it leaks, maybe the announcement has to do with Osama Bin Laden. It quickly turns from maybe, to confirmed. It’s now 11 p.m., and it’s pretty clear what the announcement is. But the President hasn’t made it yet.
There’s cheers and word spreading on the upcoming announcement when President Obama walks up to the podium. I could feel in my chest, even though I knew from what everyone else was saying, I knew what this news was. But there’s something important about it coming from him. He would never address us this late on a Sunday night if it weren’t important.
As he spoke, it was like everything else was silent. And every American and victim of Osama Bin Laden had at least a moment of peace knowing he was no longer here to carry on his acts of terrorism. All the people who lost a loved one in the September 11 attacks felt at ease. Some say it’s given them closure, others say it’s just another chapter. After all, they’ll never be able to get their loved one back.
Whether you’re an Obama supporter or not, surely everyone tuned in closely and appreciated what he had to say and were proud of our country that we finally were able to say, “Mission Accomplished,” …eight years later.
What’s even more miraculous was the minutes and hours after President Obama’s announcement. Twitter and Facebook exploded. It was amazing to be able to share this experience with thousands of people. We were all sharing our thoughts, prayers and praises with each other.
It was also an incredible sight to see for the people in Washington D.C. gathering together outside the gates of the White House singing our national anthem and waiving our flags.
In my lifetime, America was brought so closely together on that September day. It was in sadness. Yesterday, we were united in the sense of happiness and victory. Finally. We don’t know what lies ahead, but we’ll have this. It is some form of closure.
I hope in the upcoming months and years, members of Al Qaeda or other supporters of Osama Bin Laden and terrorism in general come to the realization we can all live in peace. There is no reason for violence and suffering. It’s unfortunate people are brainwashed in believing it’s their call to murder innocent people in the name of their beliefs to show who has power.
I pray the brave acts of the men and women a part of this very risky Pakistan mission to find and kill Osama Bin Laden only unite the world as a whole instead of dividing and causing more conflict. And I know we’re a closer nation–finally being able to have a victory and hope in sight of an ending war.