I was working in customer service at Amcore Bank in Rockford on September 11, 2001, the day a terrorist attack destroyed the World Trade Center in New York. I remember arriving at work with no clue what was going on, and then watching in sick horror as every person in our call center hovered around one computer together, watching the second tower fall. The phones were silent. No one cared about their finances at that second. The nation had paused to hold its breath and decide how to proceed. Later in the morning, we had a scattering of calls here and there, but I never felt like I was helping anyone with an account. It was more like a counseling line, as people with no one else to talk to called to hear a friendly voice and a false pretense of normalcy.
Three years later, I visited Ground Zero while I interned in NYC, and I was so humbled and moved by the experience. I heard the stories of college students at Pace University, just a few blocks from the site. I witnessed the scorch marks on surrounding buildings and the church across the street that was untouched by the damage. My life was changed just by standing on the site where so many people lost theirs.
I remembered all of this as a presidential announcement interrupted Celebrity Apprentice last night, telling Nate and I that U.S. special forces had taken out Osama bin Laden. We literally sat there in shock, and then looked at each other and said, "That's awesome???" I wasn't quite sure how to react. Can you really be excited that someone is dead? Is it okay to give a little cheer when that person was a mass murderer, responsible for the destruction of countless lives and a little piece of the American dream? And is it silly to say that I almost doubt it was truly him, given the level of cunning and evil that surrounds him? For now, I'm just going to tell myself that there's one fewer terrorist in the world to threaten my precious little man. And that's okay with me.
I'm interested to hear what you think...