This picture from the New York Times will go down as one of the most iconic in history. If any group deserved to be exultant at the news of Osama bin Laden’s demise, it was these firefighters who lost so many “brothers” because of Osama’s evil existence. As for the rest of the celebrations, I was a bit surprised by what I saw last night. Celebrations like this one at Ohio State’s Mirror Lake were commonplace last night.
Usually reserved for celebrating victories over Michigan, Ohio State students were out in force last night, as were students at Penn State and all across the nation, engaging in revelry superseding that of a big rivalry win. Oh, to be young again…and that naive.
While the news of Osama’s death is certainly welcome, in sporting parlance, it’s more akin to a go-ahead touchdown than a victory. The game isn’t nearly over yet and is still in doubt. It should be greeted with fist pumps and high-fives more than this type of celebration reserved for ultimate victories. The Western world cannot assume al Qaeda has been vanquished. To do so would be to invite a “tennis match” of events where the terrorists strike again and the hunt resumes for the next “bin Laden.”
What happened yesterday was a key moment that certainly has positive portents for the US and those who cherish freedom. It was not victory, however. We would be wise to acknowledge the hard work and sacrifice of those who sent bin Laden to his ultimate justice as well as continually remembering those who perished on 9/11. But this is not V-J Day. I don’t know if the War on Terror will see such a “final” ending where we can celebrate “unconditional surrender.” The rules of the “game” changed radically on 9/11.
In the meantime, it is our duty to remain vigilant. Osama bin Laden is dead, but those who share his murderous ideology are still active.