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A great victory, but it's also a time to be cautious

Published May 02. 2011 05:00PM

On Sunday night nine years, seven months and 20 days after terrorists directed by Osama bin Laden killed about 3,000 people by crashing hijacked jet liners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and crashing in Shanksville, Pennsylvania en route to Washington, D.C. bin Laden was finally killed by United States Navy SEALs.

Americans greeted the news of the al-Qaida leader's death with jubilation.

U.S. forces shot and killed bin Laden Sunday night, United States time, at his walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The notorious terrorist's body was buried at sea, a U.S. official said.

Among those rejoicing at the news were local soldiers, veterans and elected officials.

Although euphoric, some soldiers are worried about the consequences of killing the al-Qaida leader.

Pennsylvania National Guard Tech. Sgt. Phil Shelton Jr. of Summit Hill, who served in Afghanistan in 2007, was watching President Barack Obama on television early Monday when a reporter called asking about his response to the news of bin Laden's death.

"It's about time that we got him," Shelton said, the joy evident in his voice. "You just want to sit back and see exactly how he got it. It makes you feel a little bit better."

Still, Shelton wonders if bin Laden's execution will end the war and whether another leader will step in to take the infamous terrorist's place.

"I'm just glad this was done, and hopefully the war will be over," Shelton said. "We'll still have to help the people over there, though."

United States Army Specialist Marc Habel, home on a two-week leave from his post in Afghanistan, is, like Shelton, concerned about what will happen next, and if there will be repercussions.

"I'm worried about negative (consequences). It's not a group that's being run by one person," he said.

Carbon County Veterans Affairs Director Henry Desrosiers said "I had a smile on my face last night when I heard that at 11:30. It was long overdue."

However, Derosiers, too, is concerned about fallout from the killing.

"We know this is going to be a continuing battle. Hopefully, our military personnel were able to gather more intelligence about al-Qaida, so more of them can be rounded up," he said.

Another local soldier who served in Afghanistan, and asked that his me not be published, was glad bin Laden is gone.

"I'm glad it happened. But I'm concerned about the repercussions. I hope everything gets better. I really do," he said.

Major Kenneth J. Markovich, speaking as a veteran, said, "I support the mission as conducted by our military and applaud them for a job well done. I believe that the mission was just and that hopefully we can bring the rest of the al Qaeda to justice. "

State Sen. David G. Argall said, "I'm extremely grateful for the brave men and women serving in uniform. Congratulations to the United States Military and our President as this marks a historic victory in the war on terror for the United States and all nations across the world seeking peace."

U.S. Representative Lou Barletta, in a prepared statement, said, "Like all Americans, I am pleased that, after a manhunt lasting more than a decade, Osama bin Laden is dead. For far too long, bin Laden evaded justice. But now, it seems as if justice has finally been meted out to Osama bin Laden.

"I hope this news brings some measure of solace to the families of the victims of September 11, the families of the victims of the U.S. Embassy bombings, the families of the victims of the USS Cole attack, and all the families of the victims of the Global War on Terror," he said. "This is a remarkable victory in the war against terror, but we must remain vigilant and cautious. Bin Laden was the most visible face of international terror, but he is not the only one who wishes to harm American citizens and interests both here and abroad. While Osama bin Laden's death is a great victory for the United States, it is not the end of the war against terror."

Former Coaldale councilwoman Anne Girard sent an email message to TIMES NEWS editor Bob Urban Sunday night: "When we lived in NYC, on Governors Island, I could look out my window and see the World Trade Center every day," she wrote.

"For the past 10 years, I have had two black ribbons hanging on my front porch with 'WTC' and 'Pentagon' written on them. I took them off tonight. For the victims of 9/11: Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual peace shine upon them. May their souls rest in peace Osama bin Laden is dead!"

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