Nearly ten years ago, I got a 5:00 a.m. phone call in Las Vegas where I owned a radio station.
“Quick,” said the caller, “turn on the TV.”
I did, just in time to see the first of the twin towers fall.
I then had to stop, in midstream, a newscast on my radio station from a network which shall go unnamed to protect the guilty, because the anchor started out, “America was brought to its knees this morning.”
I brought the station to our morning show studios where I explained that I stopped that newscast because this is far too large a nation to be “brought to its knees” by some terrorists. Indeed, I believed then and I believe now that only we can bring this nation to its knees.
But, make no mistake; we had suffered the worst attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor, and justice needed to be served.
Last Sunday, it was.
The United States Navy Seal Team Six undoubtedly made its first commander, and every plank holder since, proud by doing its job in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killing Osama Bin Laden with a head shot.
It gave a beleaguered Barack Obama an opportunity to announce a rare military victory on his watch. And it gave a bunch of drunken college students who were 10 years old when 9-11 happened an excuse to stay up all night chanting USA and singing patriotic songs wherever in our nation drunken college students gather.
But mostly it gave closure to the families of 3,000 people in New York City who lost their lives that morning merely by leaving the house and going to work.
Many questions, of course, remain.
First, is how did this guy elude the combined intelligence and military operations of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth for almost 10 years?
It would appear he had friends in high places. Like Pakistan where, supposedly we also have friends in very high places.
After all, when he was caught, it was in a million-dollar compound in a suburb of Islamabad. That’s not much different than had he been found living in a suite at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Another question is, what now?
Does Al Qaeda have hit teams assembled and ready to avenge the death of its leader? At what level would such action be? How vigilant does America need to be and for how long?
Or, have we, over the past ten years, pretty much sapped them of their ability to wage war?
And we need to think about this:
As satisfying as it is to kill a figurehead who taunted us for nearly a decade, it would be much more satisfying to simply go on about our normal lives. To get back to the days when we could go to the airport and greet someone coming to see us at the gate. To not have to endure invasive searches of our body.
In many respects, the late Osama won. At least temporarily.
He got us to change the way we live our lives. He got us to allow ridicules levels of security in places like airports. He got us to give up civil liberties in the name of safety. He got us to run around looking over our collective shoulder.
The real task we should undertake is to find ways of making us safe WITHOUT compromising what makes this nation great. Our liberty.
Killing Bin Laden is a start.
But we need to remember that he who gives up liberty for security gets neither.