Bin Laden's Death Brings Comfort, but Not an End to
MONDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- The long-awaited demise of the
world's most wanted man, 9/11 terror mastermind Osama bin Laden,
comes as a welcome relief to most Americans.
But the pain, the sense of loss, the burden of sorrow, and
nagging anxieties will remain, mental-health experts said
Diane Massaroli, who lost her husband, Michael Massaroli, in the
World Trade Center attacks almost 10 years ago, told
CNN she feels "that justice has been done. I feel some
overall calm that I haven't felt in 10 years. I never thought it
would happen... never thought it would give me a feeling of
closure." Now, she added, "I feel better ... like I can start a new
chapter in my life."
For the broader American public, there is also a "partial sense
of closure, in the sense that we recognize Osama [bin Laden] led us
to war. This allows us to put an end to capturing the world's most
wanted man," said Alan Hilfer, director of psychology at Maimonides
Medical Center in New York City.
But, Hilfer stressed, people also realize that terrorist leaders
can be replaced, that Al Qaeda still poses a very real threat, "and
Americans are aware they can't sit back and relax. No one is saying
that the head of the beast is cut off so the beast can't live."
"We're waiting and anticipating, just like we have for the last 10 years," he added.
That lingering sense of anxiety was underscored Monday morning
when the U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans
traveling or living abroad to be vigilant, even going so far as to
tell Americans who are overseas to stay home or in their hotels and
not to gather in groups,
All this came as today's headlines blared with the news that bin
Laden had been killed Sunday in a compound in Pakistan by a U.S.
special forces unit, and his body then buried at sea.
Comfort has been sorely needed since Sept. 11, 2001, President
Barack Obama noted in a televised speech to the nation late Sunday
night. He paid homage to the emotional losses that so many have
endured since the 9/11 attacks, and to the "nearly 3,000 citizens
taken from us, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts."
"On nights like this one, we can say to those families who have lost loved ones to Al Qaeda's terror: Justice has been done," he said.
But just how much will bin Laden's death affect those touched
most deeply by the tragedy?
Dr. Alan Manevitz, a family psychiatrist with Lenox Hill
Hospital in New York City who was also one of the first responders
on 9/11, stressed that nothing can entirely erase the losses of
"It doesn't necessarily lessen the suffering of the families," he said. Although it may make this year's 10th anniversary service "much more meaningful ... it's a sad reason to be happy," he added.
Still, as word of bin Laden's death spread late Sunday night,
spontaneous celebrations broke out across America -- from the World
Trade Center, the site of the worst carnage on Sept. 11, 2001, to
the gates of the White House, to cities and towns big and
"We've been waiting a long time for this day," Lisa Ramaci, a New Yorker whose husband was a freelance journalist killed in the Iraq War, told the Associated Press early Monday. "I think it's a relief for New
York tonight just in the sense that we had this 10 years of
frustration just building and building, wanting this guy dead, and
now he is, and you can see how happy people are."
Ten years ago, Dionne Layne was a mother with a small child,
living in Brooklyn, where she watched the second World Trade Center
tower collapse after the terrorist attack. Now living in Stamford,
Conn., the 44-year-old spent the entire night at Ground Zero with
her two children -- 11 and 9 years old.
Layne said she planned to remain Monday with her children at the
site because "they can't get this in a history class. They have to
be a part of this."
Monday morning was cloudy in Shanksville, Pa., where a plane
hijacked by bin Laden's henchmen crashed in a field after
passengers battled back, averting a presumed attack on Washington,
D.C. A fence-lined overlook serves as a temporary memorial until a
permanent one is built to United Airlines Flight 93, the
"I thought of Sept. 11 and the people lost," said Daniel Pyle, 33, of Shanksville, who stopped at the site while on his way to work at a lawn-care company. "I wanted to pay homage to the people lost that day. I think this brings a little bit of closure."
This is "important news for us, and for the world," said Gordon
Felt, president of an organization representing the families of
people who died when Flight 93 crashed. In a statement, Felt said
bin Laden's death "cannot ease our pain, or bring back our loved
ones," but does provide "a measure of comfort," the
Late Sunday, a crowd started to gather in front of the White
House before Obama addressed the nation about bin Laden's death.
Arlington, Va., resident Marlene English told the
AP: "It's not over, but it's one battle that's been won, and it's a big one."
And at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, home to baseball's
Phillies and their famously vocal fans, news of bin Laden's death
prompted the crowd -- on hand for a game against the New York Mets
-- to break out in chants of "U.S.A. U.S.A.!"
Find out more about the psychological impact of the 9/11 attacks
New York City website.
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