Locals speak out on demise of al-Qaida leaderWORTHINGTON — Public sentiment seems to run from wild jubilation to cautious optimism when it comes to local reactions about the death of Osama bin Laden, but there is also a heavy dose of American pride.
WORTHINGTON — Public sentiment seems to run from wild jubilation to cautious optimism when it comes to local reactions about the death of Osama bin Laden, but there is also a heavy dose of American pride.
In Washington, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano released a statement Monday calling the death of bin Laden “an important success not only for the United States, but for the entire world.” She commended the president and offered gratitude to the men and women who defend and protect the U.S. at home and abroad.
“It is true that we are stronger and safer than we were on 9/11 — not only because Osama bin Laden is dead, but because of the unflagging dedication and hard work of so many people throughout the world committed to freedom and security,” she concluded.
Locally, Worthington Mayor Al Oberloh commended those who went into the compound in Pakistan.
“We owe a special bit of gratitude to the Navy Seals involved,” he stated. “We may never know their names, but we owe them a special thank you for accomplishing this without loss of U.S. lives. And a special thanks to all the armed forces, men and women, serving our country.”
Those men and women, though, may not necessarily be coming home as a result of bin Laden’s death. According to remarks made Sunday night by President Barack Obama, the killing of bin Laden “does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that al-Qaida will continue to pursue attacks against us.”
The cause of securing our country, he added later, is not complete.
“In light of the fact that we have several men and women from southwest Minnesota that will be deploying in about a month, I hope the death of Osama bin Laden brings closure to our presence in Afghanistan, Pakistan, as well as any place U.S. troops are currently serving,” stated Oberloh.
District 22 Sen. Doug Magnus, R-Slayton, told the Daily Globe Monday he was glad bin Laden’s death was handled without making a martyr out of the al Qaeda leader.
“The worst killer of our time, in the last 20 years, anyway, is finally brought to justice,” Magnus said. “It’s great news for our country. It sends a message that you can’t attack our country and murder women and children and citizens and hope to get away with it, regardless of the kind of connections you have worldwide.”
Worthington Police Det. Sgt. Kevin Flynn said intelligence operations deserve credit for finding bin Laden, but it was the U.S. military forces that did “the heavy lifting.”
“The United States had the finest military in the world and it was just a matter of time,” he added.
“Tonight, my thoughts are with our brave men and women in uniform,” U.S. Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota said in a statement Sunday night. “Their perseverance, sacrifice and courage is nothing short of remarkable.”
American still has enemies around the world, Walz continued, but bin Laden’s death ended a dark chapter in our history.
He asked that people honor the memory of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and remember moments like Sunday night, when the country came together as one.
Worthington Public Safety Director Mike Cumiskey was impressed by the amount of young people that came together Sunday night in a display of national pride.
“Many of them were in kindergarten or so when this began,” he said. “I was especially impressed with hearing the Pledge of Allegiance at one gathering and the National Anthem at West Point.”
The president, he said, displayed the right tone when delivering the news to the country.
“I’m glad it went down the way it did,” he added.
According to the White House, the team was on the compound for less than 40 minutes for the helicopter raid.
A senior administration official at the White House said the compound on which bin Laden was located was “extraordinarily unique,” with 12 feet to 18 feet walls topped with barbed wire, internal wall sections and two security gates. Besides bin Laden, several other adult males were killed in the raid — two are believed to be bin Laden’s couriers and the other his son.
A woman was killed when she was used as a shield by a male combatant, and two other women were injured.
“I should note that in the wake of this operation, there may be a heightened threat to the homeland and to U.S. citizens and facilities abroad,” the official stated. “Al-Qaida operatives and sympathizers may try to respond violently to avenge bin Laden’s death, and other terrorist leaders may try to accelerate their efforts to strike the United States. But the United States is taking every possible precaution to protect Americans here at home and overseas. … And without a doubt, the United States will continue to face terrorist threats. The United States will continue to fight these threats. We have always understood that his fight would be a marathon and not a sprint.
“There’s also no doubt that the death of Osama bin Laden marks the single greatest victory in the U.S.-led campaign to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al- Qaida. It is a major and essential step in bringing about al Qaeda’s eventual destruction.”