Editorial: Anniversary of bin Laden death a period for reflection
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 26, 2012 22:04
This week will mark the one-year anniversary of the United States Navy SEAL’s Special Forces operation, code-named “Operation Neptune Spear.” This operation was responsible for the death of then-head of the Islamist militant group al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden. This historical event had a major cultural resonance for the country, particularly this generation.
It is important to note that the death of any human being is nothing to ever be celebrated. Armed conflict is a grim and vile thing that forces good men into extraordinary situations and forces them to make life or death decisions that they would otherwise be far too good natured to do. Such is the case with the assassination of Osama bin Laden. However, what this event meant for an entire generation cannot be ignored. Being of grade school age when the September 11, 2001 attacks occurred, bin Laden quickly became a household name with precious little background. All that was certain about the man was that he was our nation’s No. 1 villain.
One of the most reported things about this event was what it meant for college campuses specifically. Here at UConn, students set aside their study materials for finals and found the nearest television to watch as the president announced that the operation had been carried out successfully and that there was now a book-end to our generations longest collective goal: to capture or kill of Osama bin Laden.
No one was certain what the aftermath of this news would be. Overall, people were confident that this would not be the end of terrorism as we know it and that conflict in the world, as well as American involvement in these conflicts, would not come to a screeching halt. This event held more significance than the naïve notions of world peace by death. As an entire generation of Americans gathered around their television and computer screens, there was a somber but significant sigh of relief as one of the darkest and most sinister chapters in U.S. history came to a close. It was a testament to what our nation can accomplish with persistence and intelligence. It made us all think that, though we would never set such a grim task for ourselves, we’re capable of overcoming an enemy when forced.
This week is not meant to be a celebration of a man’s death, no matter how villainous he may have been. It is merely a time for our generation to reflect on what this historical event meant to us as a culture. This is a time to remember how unified we can be around a single goal and how important the road ahead will be for shaping our national future.