Bin Laden’s symbolic death gives nation closure

On Sunday, May 1, 2011, President Barack Obama announced to the world that Osama bin Laden was dead. The man, who was the face of evil for our generation, will kill no more. While this is, rightfully, a proud time for our military and our nation, it is also a moment to reflect on how, after 10 years of sacrifice, our lives have changed.

None of us will forget where we were that September day; no event can erase the heartbreak and compassion we felt for our country. That day profoundly changed the way our generation would live and how we would view, not only world events, but each other.

Let us make this clear: this should not be a “hoo-rah” moment for our nation. Though he lived a despicable life, bin Laden was still a human. When explaining why his administration will not release a picture of the dead body, Mr. Obama said, “this is somebody who was deserving of the justice that he received … we don’t need to spike the football.” This is the correct precedent to set.

While we can celebrate in the closure of the 9/11 attacks, we must celebrate without being inflammatory. This is a symbolic step forward for our nation, no doubt, and one that may lead us to be more optimistic about our future. It is a chance for us, who have lived through multiple wars and a decline in American prominence, to re-establish our dreams for the future.

Bin Laden stood for everything this country does not: Suppression, oppression and reckless fear. His death is a reminder to us, the generation about to inherit the world, that we must stand united, that one should never fear to express their opinion, their religion, their gender or their humanity. With bin Laden’s passing, we mark the demise of a symbol of hatred, a man who saw persecution and dehumanization as the only means to advance his ideology.

But the war is not over. Though the man may be dead, his ideology of ignorance and radicalism lives on. After 10 years and loss of much human life, we must not relent. It is on our shoulders, those who watched in horror as the towers fell, to ensure that the power of humanity is never persecuted.

Let us take time to reflect on this momentous event in the history of our world. Though our jubilation should be tempered, we must give thanks to those who have made uncountable sacrifices.

May we mark this occasion to rejoice in their success and the legacy of those lost in the name of freedom, and may we honor those who continue to fight so our nation can stand united in the face of evil, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.