Letter from Rep. Danou: Another anniversary of September 11, 2001The first few weeks of September bring a new school year, collegiate and high school sports and fall preparation.
By: Rep. Chris Danou , Pierce County Herald
The first few weeks of September bring a new school year, collegiate and high school sports and fall preparation. Unfortunately, we also remember September 11, 2001 as we go about our day-to-day lives. I’m sure most people would agree with me that when they went to school, work or were out running errands that it seemed like any other day.
For me, September 11, 2001 began like most other days. At the time, my wife and I had the first of our two sons and I was working 3rd shift for the Onalaska Police Department. I had completed my usual routine of coming home from work to spend time with my six-month old son and do some things around the house when I took a phone call telling me what happened.
I turned on the TV and watched the events unfold in an attempt to understand and comprehend what was happening and why. My thoughts and prayers went out to the people and families directly affected by what had just happened. As I watched in disbelief I couldn’t help but look at my six-month old son and wonder what these events meant for him, my family, friends, my job as a police officer, and of course, what these events meant for our country now and in the future.
As millions watched the World Trade Center’s twin towers burn on live television, pandemonium broke out in the streets of New York City and reports started coming in as to who was responsible. It didn’t take long for known extremist and international terrorist Osama Bin Laden to proudly claim responsibility. From that moment, the search was on to bring this horrible man and those within his inner-circle to justice for the death of thousands of innocent civilians.
In December 2001, military officials came close to capturing Bin Laden in the eastern mountains of Tora Bora, Afghanistan. After his narrow escape, one of the greatest and most agonizing manhunts the world has ever known took place. For nearly a decade, American military and intelligence forces chased Bin Laden through Afghanistan and Pakistan. With years of intelligence, tracking and staunch perseverance US military personnel were able to conclude who was closest to Bin Laden.
In August 2011, military personnel determined who was Bin Laden’s main courier and most trusted contact with the outside world. Once they tracked him to a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, non-stop surveillance started and after a few months military officials thought Bin Laden himself was hiding there. It wasn’t a cave in the mountains that many had envisioned as his hiding place, but instead it was a million-dollar mansion on the outskirts of the town’s center, built on a hilltop surrounded by 12-foot concrete walls topped with barbed wire.
After thoroughly reviewing the evidence and feeling confident that Bin Laden was hiding in the compound, President Obama called meetings with his closest national security advisors. It was during these top secret meetings that the President and his team planned a mission to raid the compound that ultimately ended with the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 2, 2011.
President Obama showed great leadership when he made the call to take out Bin Laden. This was a true accomplishment and is a defining moment for the President and his cabinet. This decision has significantly limited the role of international terrorism and has made our country and the world a safer place for capitalism and democracy. Every September 11th, we must remember the thousands of people who died that day and the courageous men and women whose perseverance and sacrifice brought one of the world’s worst villains to justice.