Earlier this week, a team of Navy SEALS raided a mansion in Abbottabad, Pakistan, killing Osama bin Laden and bringing the world’s most notorious terrorist to justice.
In a masterfully delivered Sunday speech, President Obama spoke to the public about the “worst attack on the American people in our history.” He recounted the horrors of Sept. 11, 2001, and reminisced about a unified American family that came together nearly a decade ago.
He spoke of “heartbreak and destruction” and of the countless families affected by empty seats at the dinner table and children who have been forced to grow up without a mother or father. Bin Laden certainly wrought heartbreak and destruction. But perhaps even more atrocious, he spread loneliness and fear.
Osama bin Laden was the mastermind behind a massive genocide, shrouded in religious ideology. On the darkest day in American history, bin Laden’s al-Qaida killed nearly 3,000 people. Scores more have died around the globe since.
Americans are overcome with patriotism unseen since 9/11 – this was personal. Response has been jubilee. Americans crowded the streets waving flags near the White House and Ground Zero in New York City. Fans at a game between the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies broke into a unified chorus of “USA, USA” as news of bin Laden’s death surfaced.
The first day of May will be remembered as a day of celebration in America. However, some are confused as to how we as Christians should respond. Should this be a day of rejoicing?
The answer is undoubtedly, yes.
This is a day for Americans to celebrate, not in a man’s death, but rather in the closure it brings the families of all of his victims and the countless more affected by his actions.
Never again will an innocent person die at his hands. Never again will he cause entire societies to be afraid.
The reality is, we all were affected on Sept. 11. All of our lives changed forever. On that fateful morning, we all lost a good deal of innocence – the world never has been the same.
The story of Osama bin Laden is a real-life tragedy. The story of an individual consumed by what he believed to be truth. Many others have followed suit. Many more still will.
So don’t confuse the chants of “USA, USA” or the mini flags as elation over a man’s death, but rather they should be viewed as a form of closure: closure for the families of his victims – closure for us all.
The war on terror is not over. It may never be over. But, peace-loving people around the world who want nothing more than to live free can sleep a little easier tonight – and that’s cause for celebration.