Local residents react to death of Osama bin Laden

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The mother of a 9-11 victim, the father of a soldier in Afghanistan--everyone had something to say upon hearing the news that Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan by U.S. forces. Here are a few of the comments made by local residents:

There will never be closure for us

Elaine Pecorelli Dyer kept the news on all day Monday in her North Naples apartment but saw no reason to celebrate.

“I’m doing the same as I do every day,” Dyer, 73, said. “The fact that Osama bin Laden is dead, I’m grateful to our soldiers have finally done that for us, but to celebrate and say it is closure, there will never be closure for us. We’re just going on like we usually do.”

Dyer’s 30-year-old son, Tommy Pecorelli, was aboard Flight 11, the first plane to hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. He had been visiting family in Boston and was returning home to Los Angeles. He had brought a Sonogram picture of his unborn son to show off to his family.

Today a picture of his son, Nicolas Thomas Pecorelli, sits on top of Dyer’s television, along with other photographs of her close-knit family through the years. The photograph of her grandson was taken three years ago in Michigan, where the youngster lives, with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama during a campaign stop.

“It took him long enough but Obama did it. Obama did it,” Dyer said, referring to the president’s pledge to capture or kill bin Laden. “He promised he would do it.”

Dyer is angry people are questioning if bin Laden is dead because they haven’t seen pictures of his body.

“It’s like with Jesus, believe even if you don’t see. But no, everybody has to see to believe. We are just glad it happened but we are not celebrating,” said.

— Liz Freeman

Gratitude, but a mission to remember the victims

Patrick White spent much of Monday on the phone with family members and on his work for the Flight 93 National Memorial.

The Naples attorney and vice president of Families of Flight 93 said the wounds of losing a loved one in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks may heal more quickly for some victims’ families now that Osama bin Laden is dead.

White’s therapy is his work bringing the Flight 93 National Memorial to reality for his cousin and the 39 other individuals who died in the field near Shanksville, Penn.

White’s cousin, Louis Joseph Nacke II, 42, was one of the passengers who stormed the cockpit of the hijacked plane before it crashed.

While glad to hear of bin Laden’s death, White knows a prouder moment will come when the first phase of the permanent national memorial is dedicated this Sept. 10. Another phase will see completion of the “Tower of Voices,” an edifice with 40 wind chimes.

“When I am finally able to hear those voices speak, and for freedom-loving voices, I know that I can seriously let go some of the emotion that let me fuel my passion for their voices,” he said.

—Liz Freeman

Lamour: I'm happy he is no longer a threat

Within days after burying his daughter, a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, Jean Baptiste Lamour felt joy when Osama bin Laden was caught.

"I'm happy that he is no longer a threat," Sgt. Linda L. Pierre's father, Baptiste Lamour, said in Creole translated by his daughter, Cindy Lamour Watson.

Baptiste Lamour's oldest child, Sgt. Jean Robert Lamour, the oldest of the family’s five siblings, is currently stationed in North Carolina and is being deployed overseas this week to an undisclosed location. He has served four tours in the Marine Corps prior to joining the Army.

Pierre, a 28-year-old, who was assigned to the 101st Special Troops Battalion, 101st Sustainment Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky., was one of five U.S. soldiers killed April 16 while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. The Immokalee native died of wounds suffered when an Afghan National Army soldier attacked them with multiple grenades, according to U.S. Department of Defense reports.

Pierre was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Pierre, who was in her first tour overseas and had been deployed in late 2010, served as a human resource specialist helping train Afghan soldiers and was also on foot patrol, according to family members.

— Tracy Miguel

“In fact, he has killed thousands of Muslims”

For local Muslim leaders, President Barack Obama’s emphasis during Sunday’s statement that the U.S. was not at war with Islam was welcomed as readily as news of bin Laden’s death.

“Since the 9/11 terror attacks, bin Laden has never represented Muslims or Islam,” said Rasim Kut, the president of the Islamic Center of Naples. “In fact, he has killed thousands of Muslims.”

Mohamed Al-Darsani, the head imam and director of the Islamic Center for Peace in Fort Myers, wrote in an email on Monday that he is certain bin Laden “will receive the utmost justice by the utmost judge” now that he has gone to meet his maker.

“We know that some people are rejoicing thinking that justice has been served,” he wrote. “I think we should rejoice in the fact that this event will mark the end of an era of fear and agony, and the start of an era of reconciliation and rebuilding, as well as a chance for peace and hope.”

—Leslie Williams-Hale

Garrah: Justice was done

Lt. Col. Paul Garrah said he spent the day speaking to his Golden Gate High School JROTC classes about bin Laden's death.

"I worked at the Pentagon and left about three months before it was hit (in the 9/11 attacks) and I lost some friends that day," he said.

Garrah pointed out that his students were about 6 on Sept. 11, 2001, but they recognize the importance of bin Laden's death.

"They're asking good questions. They want to know, ‘Will this end terrorism around the world?' No, is the answer. In fact, we talk about how things might get worse — there could be retaliation. .... The kids are very interested."

Garrah's fellow JROTC instructor, Sgt. Maj. William Barchers, served in the special forces and Garrah said Barchers has been talking to the students about the special forces and how they would go about a mission like the one to kill bin Laden.

As for his feelings on the subject, Garrah said he was not sad that bin Laden was dead.

"Justice was done," he said.

— Kate Albers

Southwest Florida legislators react

TALLAHASSEE - The killing of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. military is great for the country, and a boon to American troops, some of Southwest Florida’s legislators said Monday.

“Obviously it is a huge motivation for our troops for a job well done,” Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples, said. “You’ve seen a decade of soldiers who have gone off to fight a war on terror, to ultimately probably be a little frustrated at times that we couldn’t get our hands on him. And so, to me this is a huge motivational tool for our troops and a great thing for America.”

Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, said in an e-mail that he’s proud of the country for never standing still for injustice and always pursuing American enemies.

"Justice has been served and the terrorist has gone to his grave,” Richter said.

To Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, bin Laden’s killing is closure for the families who have suffered since the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Passidomo said he had a premonition about the announcement.

“Its funny, last night I was watching TV and at 10 o’clock on CNN they said the president was coming out at 10:30, and they didn’t know why,” she said. “I said to myself ‘It’s Osama bin Laden.”

--Ryan Mills

Whelan: Very, very good news

Bill Whelan, a retired New York City firefighter and president of the Gulf Coast Retired Firefighters Association, was still on the job in 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked.

Whelan knew some off the 343 firefighters who perished.

He admitted on Monday there are complicated emotions with anything related to 9/11.

“There is never closure,” he said.

But he called bin Laden's killing “very, very good news” and one of America’s biggest victories since 9/11.

“This feels good,” he said, “but we’ll feel even better when al Qaeda is defeated.”

— Aaron Hale

Thomas: Incredible operation is turning point

Peter Thomas, a Naples historian and World War II veteran, said news that Osama bin Laden was killed by Navy Seals came at one of the best times possible for Americans.

“People are going to look back at this as a turning point,” said Thomas. “It's going to do more for our country. The timing, with the economy the way it is … nothing could have helped infuse confidence and the great American spirit (like this).”

Thomas said he could “understand the elation” people felt when they heard the news, and commended the Navy Seals involved in the operation.

“You give the military something and they pull it off beautifully,” Thomas said. “This is an incredible operation. I think they did a fabulous job.”

— Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster

Riccio: The goal has been made

John Riccio was pleased to hear of the death of Osama bin Laden, but he said the take-down should signal the end of a decade-long war in Afghanistan.

“I think we shouldn't even be there now,” he said. “The goal has been made. It's taken 10 years to get the culprit finally, (and) they said there's less than 50 al Qaeda (operatives) in Afghanistan. Now we're fighting the Afghan people, who don't want us there.”

Riccio, an ardent anti-war advocate, for years organized a display of crosses along Naples beach every Veterans Day, Memorial Day and anniversary since the Iraq war began. Riccio stopped the display shortly after President Barack Obama was elected because he said he lost all of his volunteers.

The 2008 Veterans Day display featured more than 800 crosses to honor someone who died in Iraq.

Riccio said his son, Marc, is a colonel with the U.S. Marines Corps and is currently stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan. His grandson, a lieutenant with the U.S. Army, is headed to Afghanistan in November.

— Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster

Coyle: It's been a long search

Collier County Commissioner Fred Coyle said he was “absolutely certain there are hundreds of thousands of people cheering the news” of Osama bin Laden's death.

“It's been a long search,” he said. “It's a very difficult thing to do particularly if the person you're looking for is hiding in another country and clearly … we were not the only ones who knew we were there.”

Coyle, a retired U.S. Army colonel, said the fact that bin Laden was found in Pakistan came as no surprise to many.

“Everyone I knew in the military and the intelligence community strongly felt (he was in Pakistan),” Coyle said. “It's just another example of how Pakistan is playing both sides of this issue. Although they pretend to support us … they also are strong influenced by their sympathy for their Muslim brothers.”

The decade-long search can put a strain on military personnel, and Coyle, who served in Vietnam, said the “the longer it takes the more frustrating it becomes.”

“It's frustrating that it takes such a long time to bring someone to justice who has committed such a crime against this country,” he said. “I think most people in the military realized sooner or later this was going to happen.”

Coyle said he thought bin Laden's death could spur a renewed effort to get the Freedom Memorial at Freedom Park in Naples up and running.

The memorial includes a 13-by-40-foot wall in the shape of a waving American flag. The memorial is meant to honor the events of Sept. 11, 2001, but won't likely be completed by the 10-year anniversary because of limited donations.

More than $600,000 has been raised for the project, but another $730,000 is needed before the memorial can be completed.

“People who are not closely related to the military effort to located him, their memories are beginning to fade,” he said “There are many children who don't even know what 9/11 means.”

But Coyle said a renewed fund-raising effort isn't the most pressing issue, instead he said Americans need to “maintain our vigilance” especially in the days following bin Laden's death.

— Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster

Donovan: Happy Dead bin Laden Day

Former Collier County School Board member and retired Marine Steve Donovan declared Monday "Happy Dead bin Laden Day."

"It is a great day for our military," said Donovan. "It's 10 years of accumulated stress and fear that people have put up with and now we are able to have some relief."

Calling bin Laden a man who "changed America," Donovan said the news Sunday evening does not mean Americans should think about bringing troops home anytime soon.

"There is still work to be done," he said.

Donovan's son, Matt, is currently serving in Afghanistan. Donovan, who has not talked to Matt since the news broke, said he will be excited to hear his son's opinions on the news.

"We have shown the world our perseverance," he said. "This is the coup de grace for them. They deserve all the accolades they are receiving."

— Kate Albers

Soliday: I'm happy we put this behind us

Ted Soliday, executive director of the Naples Municipal Airport, said he was emotional when he heard the news of Osama bin Laden's death Monday morning.

“I was quite emotionally affected by it,” Soliday said. “When you'd had battle like that, you're affected by combat forever.”

Soliday served in the U.S. Marine Corps. for seven years, while both of his sons served eight years in the Marine Corps. Soliday served as a pilot over Vietnam from 1969 to 1979, and was eventually medically discharged.

“I'm an emotional old man,” Soliday said Monday. “But I'm happy we put this behind us.”

Former Marine: Our efforts pay off

Stephen Henley served in the U.S. Marine Corps for eight years, and he said Monday that moments like the death of Osama bin Laden makes him think of going back.

“It makes me proud,” said Henley, a 2009 Ave Maria University graduate. “It makes me want to go back into the Marine Corps and wear the uniform I once wore proudly.”

Henley, now an Ave Maria staff member, was first deployed to Iraq in March 2006.

“It's great to see the work that I put forward, my comrades put forward, comes to fruition and to come a culminating point,” Henley said. “It's an overwhelming feeling, what we set out to do, we finally accomplished.”

Henley said Sunday's news was something the military had been working for the past 10 years, and he hoped that bin Laden's death would boost American's spirits. He said he was already seeing the “refreshed and rejuvenated” American spirit Monday as he saw people celebrating.

“It was refreshing,” he said. “ … In times like this, when we've been going through a war for 10 years, it really grinds on the American people and wears us down. It was great to see the American people rejoicing.”

— Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster

Jackson: It’s about damn time

Roy Jackson, a Naples resident and Navy veteran, had a simple reaction to the news.

“It’s about damn time,” he said.

Jackson, who served from 1960 to 1980, was at the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Post 7369 in Naples this morning after he learned of bin Laden’s death.

He said he felt “a little bit of extra pride” since it was Navy Seals who carried out the mission.

— Aaron Hale

Some of the online comments made Monday on naplesnews.com story “U.S. kills Osama bin Laden”:

■ One down, 50,000 more to go. Terrorists are EVERYWHERE. Just a matter of time until someone more evil replaces him. — sapphire_odonata

■ If all is as reported, kudos to the military for getting him. But I don't think this is the end of anything, war on Islamic Terrorism is long from over. — Ruger

■ I know everybody on the news says not to ... but I can't help but feel safer. Glad this lovely human being has been taken out. Don't know why President Bush didn't get him when he had the chance. — lovemycat

■ Proud to be an American. We are looking stronger now. Congrats to our wonderful military, to the intelligence world, and yes, even to our Commander in Chief. — intense

■ Will Trump believe it? Or should a death certificate be released? — Murphys_Law

■ I want to see his death certificate! — 239tothe850

■ Why haven't we seen the body or visual proof of Osama's death? Buried at sea within 24 hours according to Muslim law? Like the USA should care about Osama's Muslim tradition when he was responsible for thousands of American deaths. We should be dragging his body around ground zero behind a team of stallions. Anybody else comtemplating similar thoughts? — Right_Turn_Only

■ Buried at sea? Let's see photographs. No one can be sure without the body. A political victory? No! Shame that President Obama condons assassination. Blood is on his hands. Should have brought out the criminal alive and to trial. — light

■ And the evidence is dumped at sea. You can't make this stuff up. — ImperialBrainSlave

■ The only thing that stinks is now I have to admit that obama has done 1 good thing. Only 1 though. He should just quit while he is ahead. — To_tell_the_truth

■ What exactly did Obama do that no other President would have done? He gave the order, That's it. The military deserves the credit. — repoman

■ Can we just have one day to rejoice this victory as "AMERICANS" without all the party bickering? Let's just enjoy that this illegitimate is no longer on Earth. Congratulations Mr. President and God Bless America! — Lemme

■ Today we are all Americans. Proud of it! — furball

■ Now, can we have our freedom back? — myrealname

© 2011 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 24

happy6 writes:

hey mary...it was GW's policies that OB followed that led to the killing of the goon.as well as the waterboarding KSM and the rest of the lovely human beings....don't forget that while you're congratulating OB.

Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True (Inactive) writes:

If not for Cuba's Guantanamo Bay which Obama wanted to close, this good news would never have happened.
Bush was man Obama was forced to follow his footsteps.

RayPray writes:

"the Caliphate will never be created"

Your optimism may be premature.

The Caliphate redivivus may yet come to pass.

The other day I saw it beginning to coalesce...close by in prestigious Golden Gate.

Just behind Hungry Howie, in fact!!!

RayPray writes:

"PS The operation was German GSG 9 standard. Very well done!"

What is GSG 9? Please explain. Something developed by Otto Skorzeny?

RayPray writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Had never heard of GSG 9. Very interesting....

"Don't tell me that you are related to Heinrich Himmler."

>>> I won't since I'm not.

>>> Himmler was a paper ubermensch. Zero combat experience or skill. Skorzeny was the real deal.

"It is an unsolved mystery where his family escaped."

>>> Skorzeny died in Madrid. Ashes returned to family in Vienna.

>>> Skorzeny pioneered just this type of airborne commando snatch used against Osama with his rescue of Mussolini and kidnap of Admiral Horthy's son.

>>> A fascinating character for whom a movie is long overdue....

RayPray writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

blogsmog writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is_It_True_Partially_True_Or_Not_True (Inactive) writes:

in response to blogsmog:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Blogsmog, Don't call her Marianne that, you make her think she good for at least something.

happy6 writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

The best comment I have heard regarding Osama's death was that the last thing he saw on this earth was the face of an American.

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You mean the moron who posts jibberish has named Obama one of the greatest Presidents in history. Has he withdrawn us from Iraq and Afghanistan yet? Has he fixed the economy yet? Call me when he does and we can talk, until then the jury is still out on this Presidency. One act doesn't define anything and him trying to turn us into Socialist France or Canada with a health program that we don't want is a strong mark against him.

u2cane writes:

in response to MarcoIslandWoman:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

On another thought, isn't it very interesting that whatever something goes wrong for our present President he blames it on our past President, when something goes right he tries to take the credit all for himself, with all of the "I's" quoted by him during his late night speach not giving much credit for the efforts that went into this killing of Osama during the past 9 years? We have to remember that if it was not for Guatanomo Bay and the efforts that went on there which ultimately led to this capture. Something which Obama attempted, unsuccessfully, to to close down. Had this capture failed he would have blamed President Bush by saying Guatanomo was worthless and that Obama was right all along. This shows the "character" and "inflated ego" of the present man in the White House.

unfatcat writes:

Thank you to all, who have given so much that this day has come.

It is so strange that this man, Obama, who has been against war completely, going to bring our troops home, and against Guantanamo Bay; against interrogation methods of terrorists; against military trials to the point of supplying terrorists with US attorneys, and, all the while, believing they are not terrorists at all but victims of society,. . . but now seems extremely pleased with himself for participating in this important world-wide execution and quick body removal that was a result of, firstly, interrogation methods, and while waging a war-but-not-a-war more than Bush, and continuing with Guantanamo Bay. Does anybody else think these things are very odd? And, why aren't the anti-war people speaking out now that Obama has engaged in an additional war battle with more possibilities on the horizon?

RayPray writes:

in response to unfatcat:

Thank you to all, who have given so much that this day has come.

It is so strange that this man, Obama, who has been against war completely, going to bring our troops home, and against Guantanamo Bay; against interrogation methods of terrorists; against military trials to the point of supplying terrorists with US attorneys, and, all the while, believing they are not terrorists at all but victims of society,. . . but now seems extremely pleased with himself for participating in this important world-wide execution and quick body removal that was a result of, firstly, interrogation methods, and while waging a war-but-not-a-war more than Bush, and continuing with Guantanamo Bay. Does anybody else think these things are very odd? And, why aren't the anti-war people speaking out now that Obama has engaged in an additional war battle with more possibilities on the horizon?

"Does anybody else think these things are very odd?"

Bush fought the Vietnam war in the skies over Alabama. Still he was a public he-man with his sports and fighter pilot posturing. So his military adventurism not a big surprise.

Obama was a community organizer with zero early martial enthusiasm.

But once he got in the White House with the Marine Corp guards and band, it was like crack cocaine going to his brain. He's getting all the positive side of the gung ho life without the inconvenience of actually getting shot at.

My guess is there will no be more and more military adventures like Libya and continuing the futile adventure in Afghanistan.

An intellectual -- or what passes for that in the U.S. -- in charge of the military can become a ruthless and dangerous thing.

Think Robespierre or Trotsky....

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

I wonder if the soldier, read Osama, his Miranda rights to a fair trial in a U.S. court before he shot him?

blogsmog writes:

I tell bin laden where he can go.. and it gets removed by the eagle staff?? I'm not on the NY Times blog am I?

RayPray writes:

in response to blogsmog:

I tell bin laden where he can go.. and it gets removed by the eagle staff?? I'm not on the NY Times blog am I?

NT Times blog is 'subtly' fishing for less negative verdict on Osama:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20...

happy6 writes:

blogsmog and others that had their comments removed ....keep posting...this liberal rag is unbelievable with their removals...nothing like supporting free speech and controlling the speech.

u2cane writes:

in response to happy6:

blogsmog and others that had their comments removed ....keep posting...this liberal rag is unbelievable with their removals...nothing like supporting free speech and controlling the speech.

I didn't even say anything that deserved to be removed. All I said was how Klab/Marianne should be the next world class hire by the Academy for teaching history, since this blogger seems to know so much about it by using google.

GEEZ People, have you no sense of humor? What a joke, time to start a real Marco Island blog.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

RayPray writes:

Story has 'changed' again:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/05/us/...

Final story will probably be:

--Commandos stormed compound.
--Opposition immediately overwhelmed
--bin Laden refused to give up -- because fast asleep with wife #4
--bin Laden assassinated before waking up
--wife shot in leg

He-man Obama is milking this for all its worth for his campaign donations.

A shrewder politician would have kept some plausible deniability between himself and technically illegal hit job in supposedly sovereign country.

liberator100 writes:

Marco Eagle Staff: You are really lowering your standards by letting this moron Uwe go on and on with his gibberish. He insults our intelligence; he insults Americans, he insults America and most importantly he insults our military. Hey Uwe, don't ever forget that your side lost big time; you had your hands up. Shut up and go away.

Ocram (Inactive) writes:

in response to islandeye1#236971:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Islandeye,

I guess the staff of the Eagle did not wish for anyone else to explore that territory either.

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