Locals react to death of bin Laden
While the nation was continuing to discuss the impact of the killing of the most wanted terrorist in the world, several residents with ties to the military shared their views on the death of Osama bin Laden. Bruce Wolf Ephrata s Bruce Wolf, who served in the Vietnam war and is very active with the Ephrata VFW Post 3376, is just sorry it took so long. We lost a lot of lives in the last 10 years. Now I think we should get everyone out of there, he said. Gene Shiffer Gene Shiffer, board treasurer of the Amvets Post 136, Ephrata, who served in the Air Force, was also elated when he heard the news. Since we’re a veterans organization we thank those that went in and got the job done, said Shiffer. He did add, however, I still don’t think it s going to reduce the terrorism.
Amvets Post 136 veterans
Bill Gibbs, first vice commander, and fellow veterans of Post 136, consolidated their thoughts as one voice: The recent events in the Middle East act as a reminder of the dedication and resolve of our U.S. military. The results of our brave men and women on May 1 just stand as proof that we will never give in to terrorism at home or abroad. The Osama bin Laden era is over and this should bring some closure to families of the victims of 911 and to the families of our fallen comrades who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Middle East. As a veterans organization, we can only celebrate after all of our brothers and sisters have made it home from recent conflicts as well as the past.
Tim Barr VFW Post 3376 Commander Tim Barr, who served active duty in the Persian Gulf and also in the Navy Reserves, was filled with pride when they reported it was Navy SEALs. His immediate reaction was that he was glad they got him, until he started to think about the future. I thought, is this going to open up a big can’ of something? They aren’t going to let this go, said Barr. Just because they got bin Laden doesn’t mean that the war against terror is anywhere near over yet. There is still cause for concern.
John Getz John Getz, VFW Post 3376 senior vice commander, visited Pennsylvania National Guard troops in Iraq northeast of Baghdad three years ago and also has a son that served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I m sure my son is happy it happened. He was in many fights on the Pakistan border. It was his job to help hunt people like that down, said Getz. I am never happy about a person dying, but a person like that didn’t care how many people he murdered, he added. Chad Stauffer Stauffer, who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom as part of the War on Terror, said Osama bin Laden’s death has deeper meaning for those on the front lines. It s not so much about one man, it s about him as the personification of the evil we’re fighting, he said. Stauffer said that for him, and the friends he served with in Baghdad, Iraq last year, the news of his death was a victory for everyone serving in the armed forces. It s a pretty astounding accomplishment for all of us, the Ephrata resident said. Also a member of a special forces unit, the Army Green Berets, Stauffer said he is still in awe of what was done militarily to bring Osama down. I was really impressed that (the Navy SEAL team of military operatives) were able to go in there and get the job done, he said. They are outstanding professionals it s amazing to see what they can do.
Dustin Raysor It s such a relief that he’s finally gone, said Raysor, who served alongside Stauffer. I think most soldiers had given up hope that this day would ever come.
Raysor said that while bin Laden’s death doesn’t signal an end to terrorism, it s a step in the right direction. He was behind the Sept. 11 attacks, which is the whole reason we went over there, he said. To me, it represents taking down someone who was really important to the Taliban and their mission.
Tom Levering Levering, a Navy veteran and Ephrata resident, said he believes the news couldn’t have come at a better time. With the situation this country is in financially and politically, and the fact that there are a lot of people who believe we shouldn’t be over there and I m not sure I m not one of them, it was exactly what we needed, he said. Nothing pulls people together, he said, better than a tremendous victory or a tremendous disaster. There are a lot of people who don’t have faith in our government to make the right decisions, and this showed us that we are still united in our mission despite our differences, he said. Sen. Bob Casey In a statement released after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces, Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), chairman of the Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, On Sept. 11, Pennsylvania was directly impacted by Al Qaeda when Flight 93 was downed over Shanksville. In the nearly 10 years after Sept. 11, Pennsylvania has lost 68 troops in Afghanistan and hundreds have been injured. The sacrifice of those families who lost loved ones on Sept. 11 and in the following years can never be made whole, but I hope that the death of bin Laden can help to bring some closure.
Rep. Joe Pitts
United States Rep. Joe Pitts also issued a statement Monday morning. What Osama bin Laden perpetrated in 2001 took the lives of more Americans than Pearl Harbor did. He was not only a symbol of evil, he was also its greatest living human architect. President Bush began the hunt and President Obama saw it through. The death of Osama bin Laden was not for satisfaction or for revenge. It was a strike for justice, freedom and, ultimately, for peace, he said. More BIN LADEN, page A7