In the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death, announced by President Barack Obama Sunday night, local veterans and 9/11 responders sounded off on his death and the celebrations that followed.
John Feal, Nesconset resident and responder at Ground Zero, said he’s glad troops were able to kill the man responsible for the attacks that took the lives of more than 3,000 people.
“I’m glad we killed him. There will be no trial. The world’s most evil man has been removed from the face of this planet,” he said. “Good defeated evil and while it took 10 years, good still defeated evil.”
Tom Mooney, an Army combat engineer who served in Vietnam and former commander at VFW Post 10870, said celebrating bin Laden’s death may be much, but it should bring a collective sigh of relief for the country.
“It’s one more very, very bad person off the face of the earth. We should be thankful for that,” Mooney said. “I don’t know about celebrating but I think it’s a sigh of relief in some ways. You don’t know what this guy was going to next if he was still in command.”
Frank Todaro, VFW Post 395 commander who served in the Navy as a strike assault post in Vietnam, said he is not joyous that bin Laden has been killed because people in the military are still losing their lives.
“I can’t be overjoyed about it because there are still going to be G.I.'s dying. There’s still going to be a war on terror going on,” Todaro said.
While Mooney said celebrations were over-the-top, Todaro said this is no cause for celebration.
“There is no cause for celebration because in the scheme of things he’s just one man. The war on terror is still going to go on, G.I.'s are still going to be killed, and we still have the threat of terrorism in this country,” Todaro said. “A cause for celebration [is] when we put an end to all of that.”
Mooney also said that televised celebrations could create foreign affairs issues and cited the ill feelings many U.S. citizens had when celebrations in the Middle East were televised following the attacks on the World Trade Center.
“I do remember when they bombed the World Trade Center with the short video of people celebrating over in the Middle East, dancing in the streets. That kind of turned all of our stomachs,” he said. “We’re thankful to see the same type of thing going on over here but celebration is usually a joyous word and this is not a joyous situation.”
Retaliation for bin Laden’s death, Mooney said, is something he is concerned about.
“I guess I’m nervous like most of everyone else, wondering what the next step is going to be, what the next job is, or of retaliation or some deranged person feeling they have to retaliate for this thing,” he said. “Hopefully there won’t be anything but everyone I’m listening to seems to expect something will happen as a result of this.”
The 9/11 attacks resulted in the deaths of nine Smithtown, Nesconset, Nissequogue and Saint James residents: Donald James Burns, 61; Patrick Thomas Dwyer, 37; Cynthia Giugliano, 46; Kris R. Hughes, 30; William J. McGovern, 49; Daniel O'Callaghan, 42; Douglas E. Oelschlager, 36; Joseph John Perroncino, 33; and Michael Thomas Russo Sr., 44.
Hauppauge Patch Editor Sara Walsh contributed to this story.