Lethal terrorist and Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden was killed exactly seven years ago today. And while so much has happened since his death in 2011, it’s important to never forget that feeling after we first learned that Osama had been killed.
I’ll certainly never forget. I was just a junior in high school. Old enough to understand the gravity of his death but not quite old enough to understand the political shockwaves it would send across the world. Like many kids my age, I comprehended the evil that Bin Laden unleashed on our country. We remembered 9/11, we’d seen some of his propaganda videos, we’d seen footage of the atrocities he’d unleashed on the Middle East.
But seven years prior to that fateful day in May, I experienced something that most kids my age had not. In July of 2004, my father was killed in Iraq. He was fighting not only for the freedom and safety of Americans, but for Iraqi liberation. He heard the call of duty after 9/11 and deployed less than two and a half years after that day.
And two weeks before he was supposed to return home, my father was killed action by hostile fire while giving air support to his fellow Marines. He was the only Marine killed in his squadron.
While this was incredibly devastating for my family, I learned the importance of the ultimate sacrifice at a young age. I’d never wish that pain on anyone. But I’d wish the patriotism and unapologetic pride for my country on every single person in the United States. In these divisive times, it’s easy to lose track of the values that should unite us as a nation. But no matter who our Commander In Chief is, no matter who controls Congress, no matter how high-octane those debates are inside the beltway and across the fruited plains are, every single American should have an unwavering pride in this country. And if you ever start to forget that pride, remember the uncommon valor that runs through the veins of warriors like the SEALs who risked their lives to eliminate the threat of Osama Bin Laden, and my father who laid down his life for his Marines. And then get back to me.
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