ding dong the witch is dead

A still of 2004 Osama bin Laden videoImage via Wikipedia

On Sunday night, around midnight, just as I was into a seriously deep sleep, Emily came running into the room to tell us that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.  After we realized what she told us, she just ended her announcement with, I just had to tell you. She was pretty damn excited.

So all morning long I have been thinking about it.  Our kids were 5, 8 and 10 on 9/11.  I can recall the entire day in my head like I am rewatching a movie.  We lived downtown and still do.  I stood on Fifth Avenue and 10th Street and watched the second plane turn around and hit the second building.  Fred was in Soho at a breakfast at an outdoor cafe and stood up as a plane flew so close over his head he wondered what was happening and then watched that first plane slam into the building.  The kids were at school and we both made our way over there at basically the same time to scoop them up and bring them home.

We walked up Sixth Avenue among a mass of people who were in a total fog and many covered with ash.  It was like being on a movie set with no direction.  The kids were just aghast like we were that someone would do something so terrible.  Josh was asking one question after another.  The following day, school was cancelled, with hopes that they would find survivors and quickly whisk them up Sixth avenue to St. Vincents Hospital. 

We took the entire family out to see a movie on 34th Street that day forcing all of us to take the subway because we were not going to let our lives be dictated by terrorists.  After all, this was our town.  Josh asked the policeman at the subway stop if they had caught the bad man who had taken down the buildings.  Unfortunately not was his answer but he promised Josh they would find him.  A year later to the date Josh asked me the exact same question when he woke up that morning.  Did they ever catch that guy?  We all know the answer.

Even if we wanted to move on and forget, it was impossible for quite a time downtown.  Not because of the endless memorials but because we could all smell the remains for weeks on end depending on which way the wind was blowing.   Fast forward to last night with Emily running in to our bedroom to tell us the news.  Our kids were young when the terrorist attacks happened but old enough for it to resonate.  Growing up in a world with terrorism and security everywhere, at airports, and other locations is very different than the world than I grew up in. 

So for my kids, to hear that Osama Bin Laden is killed and that we finally got him must hit the spot for my kids very differently than it does for me and other adults.  Ding dong the witch is dead, the witch is dead. 

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Comments (Archived):

  1. ChuksOnwuneme

    This has just taken me 10 years ago, as I was in college at the time the planes slammed into the WTC. I have tried so hard to get the evil man’s face off my mind. Today, it’s closure.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Closure is definitely the best description

      1. ChuksOnwuneme

        Yes it is. And I hope we can all collectively move beyond all the hatred. Thanks for the post. Ps: Tried to reach you via email.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Will check my spam box.Btw my daughter went down to ground zero after she heard the news and saidit was an incredible experience. Serious closure

          1. ChuksOnwuneme

            lol @spam box. Look for chuks at personify dot it on Apr 12. I can imagine the feeling at ground zero. Visited once in ’03. Down here in Dallas, folks are gathering at GW Bush’s home. Haven’t seen the country united like this since 911. Great feeling. I’m glad at least I remember the significance, though I was in college when it happened.

  2. denmeade

    thank you for the reminder to think about this from the perspective of younger folks. i’m not an American and have been reflecting on my own reactions to the news and the way people have responded.. i hadn’t really thought about how young some of these people were when it happened.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Not sure how I feel about the response on the streets. Certainly the act ofterrorism that happened on 9/11 was horrific and taking out Osama was theright thing to do but today should be reflective. We did not win the SuperBowl. Today is about closure.

  3. Glennhorowitz

    Joanne: Strong, powerful post. We, too, heard of Osama’s death through our 19 yearold who was 9 on the day the Towers fell. She called from Boston and gave us, bothasleep, the willies: Tracey heard her say Obama was dead, which caused Tracey to leap from bed and run to the TV. But before she could get the set on Taylor clarified herstatement. I’ve followed the hunt for Osama carefully and at 1:30, in a deep sleep,i assumed he’d died of the kidney illness he, apparently, suffered from. It didn’t strikeme we’d shot and killed him, a far more satisfying reality to awaken to. To those ofour friends and citizens who don’t live in NYC you should, however, qualify onestatement–a statement that underscores the lingering horror of 9/11: the smell ofremains you write about was the distinct odor of burning flesh, charred flesh. Forour children who experienced 9/11 as children yesterday was a day of joy andyour allusion to the death of the Wicked Witch in the Land of Oz has a particular poignancy. Glenn Horowitz

    1. Gotham Gal

      for the children of 9/11, yesterday was definitely a day of celebration forthem.