Sitting in my parent's condo, here in Virginia I feel as though I am eleven years old again in Germany, watching the news for a Presidential Announcement about something that has happened to my country. After nearly a decade I am sitting in my bed, watching NBC, listening to the President, Barack Obama, explain to me and my nation that a man that has been fuel for our nation's war driven fires is dead. I listen as he explains that we are not at war with a religion, but with a specific group of people. I listen as I am told the war is not over, and that seemingly it will not be for a while yet.
Facebook is alive with opinions and celebrations. I went downstairs to tell my father without a smile on my face. I read the breaking news that spread across the country in less than an hour, if status updates are a means of judging time, while checking my email. My mother is glad he is dead. My dad wonders why this is relevant because it changes nothing, we are still at war.
Admittedly, I am interested in how this death affects my nation and the people I share this nation with. I am curious as to what this means for my military men and women waiting to get through the night without an attack. I cannot quite say that I'm in jubilation. I am excited that the man that birthed a nation of anxiety and nightmares is forever quited, but I am aware that his influence was vast. Osama Bin Laden was to Al-Qaeda as Manson was to his Family. He was a prominent leader to his particular militant cult. They will not be settled by his death, they will not pause and depart.
We have taken the head, but the body lives. We are fighting Hydra, and must be wary that for every head we cut off another will replace it in double. Caution is necessary, reactions will be imminent.
But, for tonight, I am reminded of what it feels like to be in a nation gathered toward a single cause. For a moment every breath was in unison. I felt the collective relief and joy spread through my nation and, as nearly a decade ago, I am a part of a nation united. However short lived, as I sit beside the vivid memory of my younger self, I am smiling. Not because a mass murderer has met his end.
I smile because I am not sure how this will fit into history, but wonder if my children will ask me one day where I was when I was made aware that Bin Laden was dead.
I also find it to be interesting that the attacks that sparked nearly a decade of anger, outrage and backlash were conducted on my mother's birthday, and that the death of the man and the national pride and celebrations that followed occurred late in the day on my father's. Isn't it funny how life balances itself out.