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Unclassified Info: Learning from a welcomed death

May 02, 2011|By Gary Huerta

I remember going for my usual morning run. It was warm out, and the streets were relatively quiet — almost too quiet, I thought.

Nevertheless, I didn’t put much weight in the lack of activity. I had just moved to Glendale, and it was early, so what did I really know or care about the comings and goings of my neighbors? As I kept pace, I played through the rest of my morning rituals. Cool down. Help get the kids ready for school. Shower. Drive to work. Ho hum.

I opened the door to my new house on Mountain Street. It was relatively quiet. I got a glass of water. Then I turned on the TV. For a moment, I couldn’t quite grasp what I was seeing. A skyscraper in New York was on fire. The sound on the TV was muted.


Then I read the onscreen graphics. A plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. Just as I was turning up the volume I saw another plane roar into frame. What the hell was going on?

For a moment I was frozen. Then my mind caught up. I started screaming. It was a gut reaction that frightened my wife and kids, who immediately rushed downstairs to see what had happened. They were also in the middle of their usual routine. We had never heard of Osama bin Laden. If we did, it wasn’t with any real concern that he would gnaw his way into our life. Some days you never forget.

Nearly 10 years later on Sunday, I was on the sofa channel surfing and gathering a stack of papers when I heard screaming from the kitchen. The first part was inaudible, but the second part was, “…dead! They shot him!”

When you hear screaming followed by the second half of a sentence like that, the first thoughts that come to mind are not particularly good. Who was shot? It’s Sunday night.

For a moment I flashed back to my run on the morning of 9/11 — the last moment before things changed. I wondered if this would be one of those times when I look back at the interval between the bliss of ignorance and the pain of knowledge?

“Osama bin Laden is dead,” my girlfriend and her son shouted in unison as they rushed into the den.

Like that summer morning almost 10 years ago, it took my mind a moment to catch up. I quickly turned the news on and heard the report that confirmed bin Laden was no longer taking up space on this planet. Feelings of vindication began to rise up in me.

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