May 2, 2011
BOSTON — Loretta Filipov turned on her television at about 10:45 p.m. Sunday night, looking to catch the 11:00 news as she usually does.
But the news was anything but normal. By that time, stations were beginning to air preliminary confirmations that Osama bin Laden was dead, having been killed in Pakistan earlier that day. The news that al-Qaida's leader was gone ricocheted around the world, as analysts asked what it meant for the War on Terror, the Afghanistan war, the 2012 Elections and more.
But for Filipov, that news was personal. The Concord native's husband, Al, was a passenger on the first flight to crash into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2011. He was killed, like everyone else on the plane.
"I listened with mixed emotions, about the whole thing. It was hard to grab what I really felt. Relief. Relief that a mass murderer was no longer there," Filipov told WGBH's Callie Crossley.
But bin Laden's death, Filipov said, will not be a catalyst for closure on her husband's death. "There is no comfort, I never celebrate death. And my husband's chair is still empty. I'm glad (bin Laden is) gone, I think we have to be wary, I think there's still a lot more to do," Filipov said.
Carie Lemack, whose mother was killed on Sept. 11, told WGBH's Emily Rooney learning news of the operation was almost reminiscent of finding out about the attacks 10 years ago. "We were in shock. Once again, to get a strange phone call late at night on a Sunday," Lemack said.
Like Filipov, she agreed bin Laden's death should not be a reason to celebrate. "It's a day for remembrance, for honoring those who were lost," Lemack said.
Lemack admitted she is concerned about the some of the more ebullient displays of joy seen early Monday morning after news of bin Laden's death.
"Taking the next step forward, and acknowledging that Osama's message of violence and hatred isn't one that those who maybe have grievances against the West should take up. We have to be explaining to people that, no matter what grievance you have, using violence isn't going to solve your problem. And I don't think that what we're seeing in the streets right now is necessarily getting that message out, which is a shame," Lemack said.
It's not just family members of those who died in Sept. 11 attacks who have an unimaginable amount to process. The attacks of that day prompted Kay McGuire's son, Daniel, to join the military. He died in Iraq on Aug. 14, 2008.
After she heard the news that Bin Laden was dead, she got on the Internet to talk with other Gold Star mothers and fathers who've lost children and family members in the wars that grew out of of the 9/11 bombings.
"We really don't know how to handle it. And that is what I am discovering, a lot of gold star families don't really know how to handle it," McGuire said.
Kay McGuire never goes anywhere without her son Daniel's dog tags around her neck. As she spoke about about Daniel and the death of Bin Laden, she touched the tags, and said that amidst all her many feelings, there are two that stand out: Pride and concern.
"I am so proud of our military doing this. But I don't want people to sit back and forget, that there is more awaiting us, this is just one piece," McGuire said.
McGuire son Timothy is an Army staff sergeant, now serving in Iraq. And her 17-year old Stephen also intends to go into the military. Kay says she supports that decision with pride.
WGBH'S Callie Crossley interviewed Filipov on The Callie Crossley Show; WGBH's Emily Rooney interviewed Lemack on The Emily Rooney Show. WGBH's Sean Corcoran interviewed McGuire. This piece was produced by WGBH's Jess Bidgood.<
ON THE COMMON, A CELEBRATION OF BIN LADEN'S DEMISE