The news that broke late Sunday evening was met with a wide array of emotions as America and the rest of the world learned of the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of a small group of U.S. Navy SEALs who attacked the compound in which bin Laden had been cowardly holed up in for some six years.
As the news spread across the nation fans at the Philadelphia Phillies game against the Mets on Sunday night began to stand and chant "U.S.A., U-S-A." That prompted the Mets' David Wright to quip Philadelphia fans "finally got it right."
Similar impromptu outbursts of emotions and celebrations took place all across the country. At baseball games all across the nation since, fans have stood to honor the men and women in uniform who have accepted the mission of protecting our country. In doing so, the fans have been saluting our values.
Now, many Americans are being criticized for celebrating the death of bin Laden.
I believe that is a simplistic approach and far from reality.
Pittsburgh Steeler runningback Rashard Mendenhall even had the audacity to Tweet: "What kind of person celebrates death? It's amazing how people can HATE a man they have never even heard speak. We've only heard one side..."
No American believes in celebrating a death, any death, even the death of a person widely considered to be the one behind the collapse of the World Trade Center nearly 10 years ago. Some have called bin Laden the "mastermind" behind the attack. A mastermind does not run and hide. Cowards do.
That collective sigh of relief that has been permeating across America since Sunday night has not been a celebration of death.
Instead, it has been a celebration of the victory of good over evil. A celebration of right over wrong. A celebration of sticktoitiveness that is at the core of American values.
I do not believe for a moment that bin Laden was a hated man.
I am reminded of a conversation many years ago with my five-year-old son Brad. During a very emotional and trying time of my life he asked if I "hated" a certain individual. Without hesitation I explained to my son that we do not hate people. I told him that we may hate things that people say or do, but we do not hate people.
What was despised or hated was bin Laden's values and the methods in which he set about to promote his ideals. Mendenhall said it himself in his Tweet when he said that we have only heard one side.
Psst, Rashard, the reason we have only heard one side is that all the speaking that bin Laden had been doing leading up to 9-11 was done in front of his followers in an effort in incite and inflame those misguided people who put their trust in a coward. We didn't hear him speak while he was cowering like a worm.
Page 2 of 3 - If bin Laden truly believed in his cause, whatever that cause might have been, a healthy exchange of words and ideas is the path toward change. Instead, he chose to savagely slaughter thousands of innocent people in an effort to create fear in Americans.
We've all learned as children in school that America was founded in an effort to create a better life. We have succeeded at that. Since the Pilgrims first arrived on the shores of this country countless numbers of people from all over the world have made the trek to America to establish similar lives — my own mother was among them. They have respected America's resolve and wanted to be a part of it.
I have no problem with America being the melting pot that it has become and I welcome the diversity of its citizens. But, what I do have a problem with is when those same people demand to have their own traditions, cultures and values shoved down the throats of Americans.
If those same people don't like our values and customs and traditions, they can leave. Political correctness is tearing away at America.
America has it's problems, that's for sure. Unemployment, rising gas prices, homeless, there are plenty.
But, how dare anyone criticize our country? America has done far more than any other country to make life easier for others all over the world and such criticism of our country smacks in the face of decency.
On a cool, peaceful September morning nearly a decade ago, thousands of people were milling about their jobs. They had jobs in New York City. They had jobs at the Pentagon.
Some were simply flying to visit loved ones when an attack orchestrated by bin Laden was put in motion that forever altered our country.
Bin Laden should have seen Sunday coming. He needed to only look back to a flight over Shanksville, Penn. that September morning when several passengers aboard Flight 93 brought down some of his cronies.
He should have known that America would not back down until he was captured — or killed. My only hope is that he enjoyed the boot that singer Toby Keith said would be strategically placed for his actions against America.
Sunday was an emotional day for me. After learning of the precision-like raid that resulted in the death of a coward, I could only close my eyes and think of my newest grandson. With tears in my eyes, I had a mental picture of Cole sleeping peacefully that night and knowing that one less evil existed in his young world. I prayed that as he grows up he never experiences the kind of evil that was eliminated on Sunday.
U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A.
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