Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on 9/11, September 11, 2001. The day America was attacked by cold-blooded terrorists who murdered nearly 3,000 innocent people. Now we can add 5/1/11 to those memories. May 1, 2011, the day of closure. The day our U.S. troops got Osama bin Laden. The day justice was done.
The war against terrorists is not over but, make no mistake about it, the death of the 9/11 mastermind is a major victory for the U.S. and most Americans realize it. Just as we came together on 9/11 to share our suffering and comfort one another, we came together on 5/1 to celebrate.
My mind went from seeing images of people running through the dust and debris as the World Trade Center Towers collapsed on 9/11 to the scene on 5/1 when people took to the streets even at a late hour to wave flags and sing patriotic songs. The scenes were reminiscent of the end of World War II. In just under ten years we had come full circle.
I couldn't help but think about September 11, 2001 when we had to evacuate the U.S. Capitol in Washington. My staff and I gathered nearby to assess the situation and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. It was a chaotic, confusing and deeply troubling day for all Americans.
On May 1, 2011, I couldn't help but think of the U.S. Navy Seals and CIA operatives who stormed the compound and killed the man that had become the symbol of terrorism and the face of evil.
I marvel at the dedication of our military and intelligence personnel who have tirelessly sorted through leads and dead-ends to finally track down bin Laden. My thoughts went out to the thousands of brave Nebraska men and women who have served their country. I can see the faces of so many of the young Americans I have talked with during several fact-finding visits to Afghanistan and Iraq.
All of our military members deserve recognition for their work and their sacrifice that led to this success. None of this would have been possible without their dedication to the mission day-in and day-out which laid the foundation for an operation of this scale.
I can still hear the voices of the Nebraska families I have called to express condolences after they lost loved ones serving in war zones. What happened on 5/1 would not bring back a son or daughter, a mother or father, but my hope is it will help ease the pain.
My memories of these two defining days in the history of the United States of America are with me forever and no doubt similar to your memories. While terrorism is not over and we, as a country, cannot become complacent, and never drop our guard, one thing is for sure. This was a good day for freedom, for liberty and for justice.