Bin Laden is dead.
I heard the news last night and went to bed. I didn’t have any bad dreams; in fact, I had a really good one that had nothing to do with politics.
This morning on the radio, I heard a news clip of people singing God Bless America at Ground Zero. It gave me chills, for several different reasons.
I remember exactly where I was on 9/11. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t recall exactly what they were doing on that day. I was in customer service, on the phone, and I realized my area was empty and I was the only person taking calls. Which annoyed me. After I hung up, I went to get a cup of coffee and found all of my coworkers crowded around a small tv in the break room. I pushed my way through to the coffee pot and just as I cleared a path, I looked over and saw the second plane hit. What. the. fuck?
My car was running on fumes that morning and I had planned to get gas on the way home. It’s lucky that I actually had 2 gallons left, because there were lines to the street at every gas station I passed on the way home that night. Rumors were rampant and no one knew what to expect.
When we figured out it wasn’t a crazy, freak accident, that it was a terrorist attack, I remember thinking, “Holy shit, we’re going to war.” And so we did.
Which made me think how different this war was. Soldiers were heroes. Suddenly, the mantra was “We must support the troops, even if we disagree with the policy.” And that took me back to my high school history teacher telling our class one day that we were probably all war babies, conceived because our fathers didn’t want to go to Vietnam. I remember thinking at the time that it was an incredibly stupid thing to say, but it was something you could get away with in 1983. Not so much today – and not just because high school sophomores are definitely not war babies. The political climate changed forever in 2001.
It’s been 10 years.
We haven’t won. The mission has yet to be accomplished, George.
I’m not ecstatically happy. I’m not sad. I’m kind of numb to it all. 10 years of political posturing will do that to a person. I am happy about one thing. I’m glad we didn’t drop a bomb on his head. I’m glad he went out shooting, because that means he knew exactly what was happening and who was doing it. And why.
Maybe last night was a moral victory of sorts, but … it isn’t over. It will never be over. That day changed the life, in some way, of every single American – especially the lives of the families of the tower victims, the Pentagon, flight 93, and the rescue workers.
So that song, God Bless America, sent a shiver through me this morning.
We did it. It took 10 fucking years, but we did it. And it doesn’t matter who is in office – this isn’t Obama’s victory (although I can’t help but think how it will play for his reelection campaign), it isn’t Bush’s victory. It’s yours. It’s mine. It’s ours. But most especially, it is the victory of the Americans who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, and every soldier who was killed between that day and this one.