At the time this paper went to press it had been about 60 hours since we heard the news of the killing of Osama bin Laden. As information continues to come forth, many Americans are still reeling from the announcement.
It was about 10:30 p.m. Sunday when President Barack Obama stepped to the microphone from the White House and made the announcement - a very strategically planned operation, carried out by a team of Navy SEALs, had located and killed the most wanted man in the world.
The President said planning for the operation began in August 2010, when intelligence officials received a huge lead on the whearabouts of bin Laden. According to the Associated Press, detainees told CIA interrogators about an important courier bin Laden used to transfer information and instructions to other members of al-Qaida.
Years later, the CIA was finally able to learn the true identity of this courier, whom they say bin Laden trusted with his life. The CIA reports that it was confirmed by a US official that a monitored phone call by that courier was the break that eventually led them to bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.
Word of bin Laden’s death spread like wildfire - across the internet and social media sites. Thousands gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and near Ground Zero to celebrate the news together. But as the president and military officials have emphatically stated, the war on terror is far from over.
“I feel this came at just the right time, to boost the morale of the American population,” says Rod Sonichsen, commander of Legion Post 126 in Broken Bow. “I am afraid some people will think the war should be over now, but that is not necessarily true.”
Sonichsen says he believes it is very important that none of us let our guard down.
“I think bin Laden’s followers will take one of two paths,” Sonichsen continues. “They will either fall apart without his organization, or they will pack up, re-group and start again. In my opinion, I think we will be the safest in the next two weeks, because it will take them that long to re-group. I do feel if anything is going to happen, it will be within the next 30-60 days.”
It appears the government is at the very least taking precautions. Jacie (Franzen) Bates, who lives at Ft. Riley, Kan. with her United States Army husband Christopher, says security has been tightened on the base since word came of bin Laden’s death. She says two forms of picture ID are now required to enter the base, and all vehicle registrations and drivers licenses are being thoroughly checked.
As locals gather in the coffee shops and share their opinions of the events of the past few days, two emotions present themselves - Pride in our military, and for a change in our government; and Uncertainty about what is to come. One sentiment is echoed by everyone we spoke with - Sunday the world became just a little bit safer place.