When I log into facebook, watch TV, or see articles online I'm in awe of the patriotic displays; the flags being held by someone who is beaming with pride or the chants of "USA" by informal gatherings of proud Americans. It's wonderful to see, but part of me can't help but think "where have you been?" Please don't get me wrong, this news is certainly reason to celebrate and reason to reflect all that we have been through as a nation. And I hope that some peace has been brought to the hearts of all those who have lost a loved one in 9-11. I feel that this news is especially poignant for them.
This morning on my drive into work the radio station was asking listeners how they felt about hearing the news of Bin Laden's death. One man called in and said "I'm so glad this is finally over." And while I certainly agree that I'm glad the hunt for this man in particular is over, "this" is far from over. The threat of terrorism is still very real. There are still husbands, fathers, sisters, and friends who are deployed in harms way and need our support. And not just when something big happens.
As I was getting ready for work, I was looking for my bracelet that has the information of my brother-in-law Daren who was killed in action on February 20th. I remembered that it was downstairs, but I looked at my counter and I put on the other bracelet I wear often; that with the information of my friend Nick who was killed in July of 2008. And next to Nick's bracelet was one for one of Miles' former Soldier, Jankie, who was killed last April. And it humbled and saddened me to think that I have options for what KIA bracelet I can wear. I have these options, as well as much bigger options and freedoms, because of the sacrifice that brave men and women make and have made for nearly the last ten years.
I wonder what will happen next. What will the reaction of the public be in a few months when the excitement of this new has worn off and Soldiers are still being killed? Will it be time to come home? Or will it be more reason to stay? It's debatable either way and I'm not saying there is one clear answer. People have talked about troop withdrawal for a long time, they talk about being tired of it all. And part of me can't blame them. But that's the part of me that is tired of missing my friends and family. Tired of worrying about my husband. Tired of wondering when we will ever celebrate an anniversary together, or when we will finally live together longer than we've lived apart (as of May 2011 we have lived together 19 months. We've been married for 48 months.) So yes, I understand why people want to see the troops come home and want to be done with it all. What I don't understand is how these requests can come from people who care more about the scandal of Charlie Sheen or Lindsay Lohan than they do about the fact that the military was almost given IOU's instead of payment last month during the budget crisis.
So while last nights news was certainly reason to be proud and reason to cheer, it is also reason to remember. Remember the sacrifice that so many make every day. Remember what happened to our country on 9-11 and what has happened in all the years since. Remember that we are stronger together and that there is no one right answer to any of the problems we, or the world, face, and Bin Laden's death is not the end of terrorism or terrorist acts. It it is a reminder to all of us of the freedoms we do have and how those should never be taken for granted.