Reaction or Response?

On Sunday night when normal programming was interrupted to await an important announcement from the president I was annoyed.  I am not typically interested in important announcements since they generally don’t seem all that important to me.  However, in this particular case it turned out I was interested.

Bin Laden had been captured and killed.  Color me stunned.  Putting aside all the politicizing and chest thumping by the media and others, I found myself reeling a bit.  Shock, yes. Stunned, yes. Happy? I don’t know.

I immediately went to Drudge to see if I could get any actual information since the newscast likened more of a lovefest for the White House than real information.  Drudge didn’t have a lot but he had some. I read quickly as though if I took my time the information would vanish and I would discover it was not real. I tweeted, facebooked and posted a quick post. I wanted people to know right now, as if hesitating would make the knowledge untrue.  Apparently others had the same idea – as I read somewhere that people were tweeting at the rate of 3,000 per three seconds. Yes, you read that right.

What I found especially notable for me at least were my feelings the next day -yesterday.  First thing, I hit the news sites and tried to learn what I could of what had happened. I spent the entire day listening to talk radio – again hungry for information – maybe even a little proof.  The thing that was odd for me was that rather than feeling celebratory I felt weepy. As though this end of a long vigil were not a happy moment but a sad one. Because it brought back the day that started it all. Brought back the helpless feelings of watching fellow Americans being killed.  Brought back the subsequent days of endless searches among the rubble.  Brought back the beginning of the change of the American way of life.

I cried a lot. I felt angry a lot. Yes, it was a good day for America because justice had been served – but I also knew it was not the end – just the end of one mission.  Not to lessen the significance of that action, nor the bravery and expertise it took for our amazing special forces to bring it about – I never could or would do such a thing.  Those dudes are in a phrase, fucking awesome.

We are not out of the dark days yet.  But I feel a little more certain that someday we will be.  I pray that I’m right about that.

But I’m wondering about others – how did you feel when you heard the news? Did you celebrate?  Did you cry? Did you do something else? Did you react or respond? I think I did both, how about you?

copyright 2011

2 thoughts on “Reaction or Response?

  1. Full blown Joy was my first reaction. Annoyance at the president claiming responsibility of having “delivered the command,” and making that claim more than once, tinged that joy a bit. Yes, he did make the decisions that brought about the final “done deal.” But, did he complete the job having started from scratch like Bush did? Did he complete the job through the massive job of soothing a nation at the same time?
    That joy was also tinged with the fear that, while job one was now complete, a whole new game has begun. The mystery of what that game is and how it will be played is the basis of that fear.
    Suspicion is another factor out there on the outskirts of that joy. Is the evil one really gone? Buried at sea is what we have been assured has been done. Many justifications as to why this was done that seem very plausible but, where is the evidence that what we are being told really happened? Photos of a blood splattered room and news of a DNA match may be proof enough for most but, they don’t toss out every speck of suspicion for me.
    So, full blown joy with a few shadows is how I reacted.

    Hey Girl,
    I had similar feelings about the ‘credit taking’ as though Obama would even had been in the position to make that ‘order’ had it not been for Bush. Does anyone wonder how differently things might have been if Gore had been in the White House on Sept 11th? I do –

    I also have a worry about bin laden actually being dead. Not to be morbid but I do want to see the photos. I do want to know it’s really he who is in the sea with the fishes. They say the WH may release the photos – I guess we’ll see.


  2. Thank you for this very honest and thought-provoking post, Annie – so much of what you said was true for me, too. I can’t say I was ‘thrilled’ to hear the news of bin Laden’s death, but I’ll be darned if I can identify what it was I actually was feeling. Fear, maybe? In a world where cartoons cause murder, what will this ignite?

    I saw all the celebrations and the kumbaya moments around the country, but I don’t know: Even if he represents evil incarnate, I don’t think I can celebrate anyone’s death. Loved ones have not been returned, the towers are still gone…and only God can impose true justice. There HAVE TO be consequences for what he did and our military carried it out with their traditional and admirable courage,

    …but I don’t HAVE TO be giddy about it, right?


    Hi Debi,
    Thanks for your candid comments. I know what you mean that identifying the feeling is illusive and defies definition –

    I think I understood the shows of excitement and happiness – I believe it was our way of thanking our military for doing the job that had to be done more than anything else. And maybe for the feeling that in this case we were able to strike back.

    But no…we don’t have to be giddy about it, not at all.



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