Locals react to bin Laden’s death

Published 3:06 pm Tuesday, May 3, 2011

There was no flag waving or chants of “U.S.A.” filling the air. But on Monday in Butler County there was quiet rejoicing following the announcement late Sunday night by President Barack Obama that Osama bin Laden had been killed by American forces.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Jerry Perdue said. “It shows the United States still has the power to do what it needs to do to protect the country. I guess it gives us a leg up in this war on terrorism that we’re fighting.”

Elite U.S. forces, which included Navy SEALS, reportedly shot and killed bin Laden – the leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda and the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that killed thousands of Americans – in a firefight at his hideout in Pakistan nearly a decade after his organization’s attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C.

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Al-Qaida has also been blamed for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa that killed 231 people and the 2000 attack on the USS Cole that killed 17 American sailors in Yemen.

As the news spread across the country Sunday night, spontaneous celebrations broke out in front of the White House and in New York City’s Time Square with men and women waving American flags and chanting “U.S.A.”

While Willie Wilson found it difficult to celebrate a death, he is hopeful that bin Laden’s death will change the landscape of the war on terror.

“I don’t like to do a death for a death, but what’s going to happen is going to happen,” Wilson said. “He should have surrendered when they gave him the chance. Like I said, I don’t like to do a death for a death, but I hope this changes things for the better. I really do, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”

Mabis Sawyer was happy to see the U.S. end bin Laden’s threat on the country, but she believes the nation must remain on guard against future attacks.

“I think it’s great,” Sawyer said. “I think it will help (with the war on terrorism), but I think more (terrorists) will break out. We need to keep a watch out.”

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions echoed Sawyer’s thoughts.

“I congratulate our intelligence community and our brave military service members on the successful completion of this mission and the death of Osama bin Laden. This is the culmination of a relentless effort that began in the wake of that terrible day on September 11th. I applaud the president on seeing this task through and finishing the job. … What we must recognize is that bin Laden was not only the leader of al Qaeda, but also a central figure in a small but radical Islamist ideology that believes its war on America and the West is justified and that it offers the gateway to eternal salvation.

“Justice has been delivered to bin Laden and America should take satisfaction in a job well done. But instead of fostering complacency, I hope bin Laden’s death renews our resolve to aggressively pursue our enemies and to aggressively pursue the intelligence necessary to do so—empowering our agents with the tools and means they need to keep America safe.”
According to Alabama Department of Homeland Security Director Spencer Collier, everyone plays a role in keeping our nation safe.

“The death of Osama Bin Laden is a major accomplishment in the war on terror,” Collier said. “Our servicemen that carried out this justice on behalf of all American citizens should be commended. However, the war on terror continues and we must remain vigilant. I remind everyone that homeland security begins with hometown security. As always, remember to report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.”