Vets Respond to Announcement of Osama bin Laden's Death
After the announcement of Osama bin Laden's death last night, local veterans give their responses.
For many veterans, it would be hard to forget the wartime scenes of anguish, despair and destruction that they've encountered while serving at home and abroad. However, coupled with those memories, many can also add the scene of what they were doing when they heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed.
In a carefully planned mission that President Barack Obama set into motion yesterday evening, U.S. military officials located bin Laden's location an hour north of Islamabad, Pakistan, and shot him in the head after a firefight between the two parties. There were no American injuries, and bin Laden was buried at sea within 24 hours to satisfy Muslim tradition, according to reports by the New York Times and other media sources.
The American public and the world were notified of the details in a late-night presidential speech where Obama confirmed the news reports and suggested the nation remember the "sense of unity" it felt just after the 9/11 attacks, almost 10 years ago.
"The death of bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat al Qaeda," Obama said.
Local veteran and Vice President of the Northampton Township Veterans Committee Pete Palestina said he first heard the news while he was watching the Phillies game and the crowd starting chanting "U-S-A, U-S-A." He turned to the news coverage and watched until 3 a.m., including the President's speech.
"It's about time," Palestina said. "I'm extremely pleased and happy that his life is over. It's a major milestone."
Another veteran, Antonio Albano, logged onto the Internet to check his email when he saw the news around midnight. This morning, he said was "stunned and pleased" when he began watching coverage on Fox News.
Albano, who is the president of the Guardians of the National Cemetery, said before 9/11 happened he was just an Army veteran, but on that day he once again became a solider.
"I immediately began wearing my American flag pin and the pin from my Bronze Star Medal on my jacket and I've never taken them off," he said. "As a veteran I think that an attack on the United States like that was horrendous."
Going forward, Albano said that citizens and the government need to be vigilant because he believes there will be retaliation attacks.
Vice President of the Board of Supervisors Vincent Deon said the news of bin Laden's death was "outstanding."
"I don't think it makes up for any of the wrongdoings, but it puts closer to a lot of people in our community who were affected by 9/11," Deon said.
An air force veteran himself, he said anybody in the military is very proud today.
"It's a beautiful thing to let the [Navy] SEALS do their jobs," he said.
Find a full transcript of President Obama's speech here.