I was watching cable television when the phone rang. A friend was on the line to tell me that President Barack Obama would be addressing the nation with an important announcement within the half hour. I immediately got onto Twitter to see what I could find out.
The tweets were starting to come in, speculating on what the topic would be. It wasn’t long before the capture of Osama bin Laden was put forth. The announcement that had been slotted for fifteen minutes dragged to almost an hour. When the President went live before the country, the shock element had diminished. The news was intense nonetheless, as I listened to the details given during that first recounting of events.
After listening to the pundits react and opine on what effect his death would have on America, I went local for my information. I turned on the all news, all the time station, NY1. It had kept me close to the pulse of the city during 9/11, and it didn’t disappoint at this renewed juncture in the story line. While the major networks were focusing on crowds outside the White House, NY1 had trucks on site at Times Square. They led with the account stating that people, in a spontaneous reaction, were headed to Ground Zero on foot —including a group of firemen.
I received numerous calls the next day, from people outside of New York, wanting to know how I felt about bin Laden’s death.
I made my own call on Monday, to the first person who came to mind when I heard the announcement. She had lost her young nephew on that clear September day. The image of her sitting on the steps of my old building telling me about his death is still indelible. “How are you?” I asked her. “It’s very bittersweet,” she told me. “But it doesn’t bring him back. My heart still hurts.”
In 2001, I li