Monday, May 2, 2011

sometimes i write about cooking. this is not one of those times.

This morning at approximately 4:30 am, my little heart came the closest it probably ever has to ceasing to beat.  

I woke up to a half dozen "turn on the news" messages.  Not one of them said why.  My heart pounded mightily as the first thought that consumed me was I need to look out my window, something has happened to DC.  Even more chest-constricting was my second thought.  Something has happened in Charlotte. 

It being 4:30 am, I was a little disoriented, and it took me a few seconds to collect myself and make my way to CNN's mobile site. 

By now, all of you reading this know what all those messages were about.  The most prominent face of terrorism (and the war on it) had taken its last breath staring into the eyes of (and down the barrels of the guns of) some of the military's most elite special forces.  {I wonder what was going through his head, through theirs.  I wonder who we will look to now for the unilateral representation of evil. I wonder if we will ever know just how much Pakistan knew and covered up.}

Reading the headlines on my phone, my first reaction in the pre-dawn hours was palpable relief.  Not that this person had died, necessarily, but that my initial fears were ironically off base.  

I immediately checked facebook and twitter, curious about the social media reaction. I realized I missed a patriotism-soaked night-time rally in front of the White House.  I read some hysterical tweets.  I noticed a stark contrast between those who were purely thrilled at the news and those who pointed out the religious hypocrisy of celebrating death.  

I honestly did not have a gut reaction, other than "oh, oh wow."  I imagine this has a bit to do with the initial fear I felt when I didn't know why I needed to watch the news. I imagine it also had something to do with where I was in life when September 11 happened.  

No one can deny the sheer horror of September 11, and of the many other prior attacks. But I was, in a way, sheltered from that. I knew no one who lived or worked in New York City or DC, no one who was on those ill-fated flights.  I lived in a small-ish town which was far from a target of terrorism. I felt profound sadness that day, but I felt very far away from it all. 

Surrounded by similarly stunned Salem sisters, I watched the events unfold on the tv in my high school's rec room after the head of our school gently broke the news to us at an emergency assembly during our daily break, confirming the rumor that one student spouted as she rushed into third period biology. It was surreal, so hard to grasp.  

So nearly ten years later, I find myself with an equally hard-to-define emotion. I am neither toasting to his demise nor questioning its legality/morality. I do hope that any person who has suffered in one form or another at the hand bin Laden finds some closure in this, and that we can all say a few prayers (to whomever we believe to be "up there") that this is another step towards some semblance of peace.     

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