Celebrating Bin Laden‚Äôs Death with Dignity
Last Sunday night, the news splashed across television sets around the world: Osama bin Laden had been killed in an American operation in Pakistan. Predictably, crowds went wild. This was America‚Äôs foremost foe, and for many of the nation‚Äôs younger residents, a sort of dread specter whose seemingly invisible existence had defined their formative years.¬†For some, entire worldviews have been born and shaped by 9/11 and its aftermath - American forces may seem like a permanent fixture in the Middle East to the children of the 1990s.
This is all well and good. But many of this same generation also took the death of bin Laden as cause for celebrations better suited for victory at a major sporting event. Virginia‚Äôs own Radford University was the site of festive¬†rioting that carried through well into Monday morning, chants of “USA! USA! USA!” echoing across the city. Similar events took place all over the country, most notably in Washington, DC and New York City.
I believe this attitude was inappropriate. Unquestionably, the demise of Osama bin Laden is a great victory for the United States, one that will restore a sense of national unity which has been all too absent of late. But I believe that death itself should not be greeted with cheers more appropriate for a sports arena or a college party; to do so is a disservice to all of those who died at the hand of bin Laden, a debt that can not and will not be repaid.
The American people can rest comfortably knowing that justice has been served. The residents of Washington, DC and New York City whose lives were forever changed nearly 10 years ago can perhaps gain closure for a trying chapter of their lives. But as the world is at last free of Osama bin Laden, we should pursue dignity in our success, celebrating the triumph of good and not only the death of evil.