Earlier tonight TIME came out with an article about why the death of Osama Bin Laden no longer really matters. I beg to disagree. And very strongly so.
When the attacks of September 11, 2011, occurred, I was sleeping in my bed in our home in San Diego. Tonight, nearly 10 years later, when it was announced that Osama Bin Laden had been killed, I was working at a TV station and helped cover it. How incredibly different these two situations were.
But both will be etched in my memory for the rest of my life. And regardless of the differences in the details, these two moments will also forever be remembered by so many others, and in particular, millions of other young Americans like me for whom 9/11 was a defining moment.
For so many of us, the United States has been in the War on Terror for half of our lives. For some who are a little younger, it is all that they’ve known. For us, Afghanistan and Iraq were not just two countries that most people couldn’t pinpoint on a map; they were frequently highlighted areas that signified danger and evil. And today, even as coverage of Afghanistan and Iraq have been pushed to the back burners as the conflict heats up in Libya, it is the fights in Afghanistan and Iraq that we see as the major wars in our lives. They are the wars in which our country has been embroiled in for so long. They are the conflicts that have taken friends, family, classmates, co-workers, lovers, and neighbors from us.
Even though in recent years we have heard very little from him, Osama Bin Laden was the figurehead of all that was deemed the enemy in this War on Terror. Osama was the Joker of our Gotham, the Sauron of our Middle Earth, the Voldermort of our Wizarding World (I’m exhausted and out of nerdy comparisons for the moment). And because he was that figurehead, his death means so much for those of us whose lives are so deeply impacted by his actions and those of his followers. Yes, it may mean something different politically and militarily nowadays, but it is still of the greatest importance.
Yes, tomorrow there may be retaliation. And tomorrow may bring a whole new era. But for tonight, it’s enough to know that Osama Bin Laden is dead.
I’m off to bed now since I need to be up in just a few hours to get back to work (most likely on a lot of Osama-related stuff).
Good night and good luck.