As the country flies flags, yelling “We got him!” my heart is sinking. Of course I’m glad that our troops were able to carry out a successful mission that ended Osama bin Laden’s reign of terror, but you most likely won’t find me donning a huge grin and cheering in the streets. My patriotic pride swells at our country’s conquest, but my heart is set on the safety of our military.
In the past few months, twelve year old boys have strapped bombs to their bodies in efforts to kill civilians and allied forces. Unfortunately, they have been successful. Saturday, the Taliban declared a renewed campaign against the United States and its allies. Saturday night, Libya vowed retaliations after NATO killed Gadhafi’s son and grandchildren. Sunday night, Osama was killed. If we think for one second that this is over, we are gravely mistaken. As American students whine about homework and spend hours playing X-Box, some of their Afghani and Pakistani counterparts construct bombs and commit to jihad.
This victory is bittersweet because it is not the end. There are still thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines in harm’s way. My little brother landed in Afghanistan hours after Bin Laden’s death…hours after adamant declarations of revenge. The minute our country thinks it’s safe to breathe a sigh of relief is the minute it loses focus. It’s not over until there are no more deployments; it’s not over until everyone comes home.