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Justice for My Sister and Nephew Comes With Mixed Emotions

Nearly 10 years after he ordered attacks on thousands of innocent people, including my sister and nephew, Osama Bin Laden's death brings some solace.

I couldn’t sleep last night after hearing the news that bin Laden was dead. The painful memories of that fateful September day when my sister  and nephew were killed came rushing back.

Whenever the mention of 9/11 is made, my heart sinks. And last night’s news was no different. The mastermind behind my family members’ deaths — and thousands of others — was killed.

Bin Laden ordered the attacks that sent two planes crashing into the World Trade Center, killing so many innocent people. I had to watch on live TV as the towers burned, knowing that my sister, Rosanne, and nephew, Brendan, were trapped inside. Those pictures are seared into my memory forever, and I wish there were some way to remove them.

Bin Laden changed my family's lives and mine forever. We will never be the same. He cause so much sorrow for many Americans. For those who lost family members at the Pentagon, at the field in Pennsylvania, and at Ground Zero in Manhattan, the pain will always be there.

I see bin Laden's death as justice served for Rosanne and Brendan. Unfortunately, his death can't bring them back. It only ensures that he can never order another attack and never cause the deaths of others.

 Our military's sacrifice cannot be forgotten. Those men and women on the battlefields keep Americans safe and some of them make the ultimate sacrifice. I offer them all, and those Navy Seals who carried out the operation against bin Laden, my prayers and continued gratitude.

I had stayed up late last night to watch the Mets vs. Phillies. The game was tied. When the crowd was chanting, "USA, USA," my husband switched to the news, and we saw the announcement of bin Laden's death.

I can't say I was as jubilant as the crowd was. Nor am I one to cheer, like many are doing across the country, including at Ground Zero. I'm normally a more private person. I was even hesitant about doing this article. I knew writing about this tragedy would be painful, but I also hoped my personal story might offer insight to others.

I did breathe a sigh of relief last night, knowing that bin Laden will never kill again. This evil man is now gone from our midst and has a higher authority to answer to.

Unfortunately, bin Laden lived a much longer life than Rosanne, who was 42, and Brendan, who was 30, at the time of their murders at bin Laden's command. Both were residents of Middletown, though Brendan was recently married and had purchased a home in Red Bank. Both were killed in the prime of their lives, taken from us way too early.

Last Wednesday, April 27, was Rosanne's birthday. If she were still here, I can imagine her saying, "I can't believe I'm 52. Do I look that old?"

I imagine myself replying, "No, not at all. You don't look a day over 45." She might have thanked me, with that great, illuminating smile of hers. Then she may have popped the cork on her favorite bottle of Jordan red wine and toasted herself.

Susan Coene May 03, 2011 at 01:09 PM
Dear Mary Lou; My sincere sympathies for your loss and such a wonderful piece. We at Group C remember you fondly and wish you well as a contributing editor of The Patch. Regards, Susan Coene Co-President Group C Media
Mary Lou Byrd May 03, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Susan, Thank you for your kinds words. I remember Group C fondly as well, and writing about economic development that your company afforded me. Thanks again. Best, Mary Lou Byrd
LuLu Lamboy May 16, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Dear Mary Lou Byrd My sincere sympathies for your loss and for your family. P.S. are you married to Artur Byrd because he is My cousin... Once again My deepest sympathies to you and your whole family, Your wrote a beautiful and touching story from your heart may god bless you your family always god bless.. Lucille


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