UPDATED 2:00 P.M. Sound Off: Osama bin Laden Dead
Fort Monmouth rep says they're thankful that "justice" has been served.
Reactions to Sunday's late-night news of the death of Osama bin Laden brought swift reactions from across the state, including from Eatontown and Tinton Falls officials and residents who were reminded of a beautiful, blue-sky day nearly 9-1/2 years ago.
Tinton Falls resident Peter Paul Apollo, 26, and Eatontown resident William Otto Caspar, 57, were among the almost 3,000 victims that were killed that day in events that were masterminded by Osama bin Laden.
In an extraordinary address, President Obama interrupted almost every U.S. television channel at 11:30 p.m. on Sunday to announce the news (see video attached).
While he did not provide details, he said that the U.S. has been tracking bin Laden for months and finally located him in a residence in Pakistan. After a firefight, the president said, bin Laden was killed, with no loss of U.S. lives.
In December 2011, Tinton Falls Fire Company No. 1 installed an eight-foot replica of the Twin Towers, built by member Jared Stevens, to commemorate victims of the attack, which included the friend that Stevens dropped off at the World Trade Center the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, according to Second Lt. Brendan Tobin.
The fire company is accepting donations to rehabilitate the weather-damaged structure and fortify the towers with steel recovered from the World Trade Center that members retrieved in November 2010 from an airport hangar at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York that stores all artifacts from the collapse of the towers, said Tobin.
"(Bin Laden's death) is a good, symbolic victory for America, and not just because the 9/11 mastermind is dead. It reinforces the fact that we can, and will, get you. No matter where you hide, or who hides you, eventually the U.S. will find you and get you. This needs to be portrayed as a message to terrorists the world over that we will never stop looking for them," said Tobin in an e-mail on Monday.
Tinton Falls resident Jeff Davidson lost his brother, Michael, on Sept. 11, 2001. He and his family started the Michael A. Davidson "M.A.D. 9-11" fund to focus on positive work and keep Michael's memory alive. The organization is also involved in fundraising for the refurbished memorial in Tinton Falls.
"My simple comment would be that it is good news that such an evil person does not walk this world any longer, but that doesn't fill the hole in my heart for my brother," said Davidson in an e-mail.
Eatontown Mayor Gerald Tarantolo said that while he feels conflicted celebrating bin Laden's death, "In a way, yes, I am kind of happy."
"He has created turmoil on our entire world," said Tarantolo of bin Laden. "Our whole way of living has changed."
He said he hopes that anyone thinking about taking up bin Laden's efforts will reconsider knowing that our country is relentless in its pursuit of terrorists.
Tinton Falls Borough Administrator Gerald M. Turning, Sr. was the borough's emergency management coordinator on Sept. 11, 2001 and said of bin Laden's death: "A wound that has been inflicted on this country has started to be corrected."
The attacks have "changed the whole way law enforcement works," said Turning, who is a former police chief of Tinton Falls. "Every morning at 7:05 I get an update from the Department of Homeland Security about what's going on somewhere in the world."
Fort Monmouth spokesman Henry Kearney said of Bin Laden's death, "We're thankful that the service and sacrifice of so many has led to justice finally being served."
U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) issued a statement, in part:
“As a nation, we may all feel some measure of closure that justice was accomplished. That through persistence and continued perseverance Osama Bin Laden and others were found and held accountable....
"May we all join together in unity, grateful to those in our military who everyday put their lives at risk and sacrifice greatly to protect our nation. Let us be especially grateful to those who put themselves at risk to bring Bin Laden to justice.
"My thoughts and prayers, along with those of all New Jerseyans, are with those who lost family and friends on 9/11. Hopefully they can find some solace and a measure of closure today."
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) issued the following statement after learning that Osama bin Laden was killed:
“People across the civilized world will have great satisfaction and relief with news of the death of Osama bin Laden, one of the worst killers in the history of man. He was a ruthless terrorist responsible for a savage mission that killed thousands of innocent Americans and others around the world. Now we must be particularly diligent and let the message get out that we we’ll do whatever is necessary to stop this kind of madness. Osama bin Laden’s disciples must know that the free world is united against terror and will fight terrorists no matter who they are, where they hide and no matter who their protectors might be. A 9/11 must never be allowed to happen again. I commend the bravery and sacrifice of all those who have been engaged in the pursuit of terrorists and all of those who continue to fight the insanity that drives terrorists who believe they can follow in this course.”
Finally, Governor Christopher Christie had this reaction:
"I want to commend President Obama's Administration for its commitment and dedication to finally bringing Osama bin Laden to justice.
"As the former U.S. Attorney and now Governor of New Jersey, I speak for all the families of this state who have courageously endured the unspeakable and devastating consequences of terrorism," Christie said. "There is hardly a life that has gone untouched in New Jersey by the horrifying assault on American soil that took place on September 11th and today, after years of waiting, justice has finally been delivered. While our fight against terrorism continues, Osama bin Laden's reign of terror has come to an end, sending a clear signal that even in the face of immeasurable horror, democracy and freedom continue to prevail."
We invite you to post your thoughts below about Sunday evening's news.