My initial reaction was overwhelming emotion I could put no descriptor on. I thought of my friends in Afghanistan and those who, over the years, fought against terrorism and radicalism, and I swelled with pride at their service. No thought of jubilation came to mind.
But I do not begrudge those who danced in the streets. Understanding the need to cheer and why people did it, I enjoyed the chants of “USA” and the national pride. However, I thought, is this the time to cheer? War is ongoing. Thousands still stand on the frontline. This turning point gives closure to some and relief to others, but is the end in sight?
On some level, I was disturbed. It reminded me of Middle Easterners burning American flags and cheering. And, I think more importantly, should we cheer death? Isn’t that what we’re fighting against? Against those who seek the death and destruction of our way of life? If death is the answer, when does it stop? I’m not sure I know the answer. Gandhi once said, “An eye for an eye will make you blind.”
And the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh said, “The pain of one part of humankind is the pain of the whole of humankind. And the human species and the planet Earth are one body. What happens to one part of the body happens to the whole body.”
When the shock wears off and the national unity and prides subside once again, our troops will still be in Afghanistan and Iraq. Al Qaida will still seek to destroy America. While I believe his death has had an effect, we don’t yet know what that is. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end and I pray that one day we can all have closure, but not at the elation of anyone’s death.