05/02/11 — At home: Bin Laden news good for world

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At home: Bin Laden news good for world

By Kenneth Fine, Ty Johnson and Steve Herring
Published in News on May 2, 2011 1:46 PM

Billy Lane was torn.

It was nearly midnight.

His wife and 7-year-old son had long since gone to sleep.

But news this big only happens "once in a lifetime," he said.

"CNN was reporting that the president was gonna say bin Laden was dead -- that everyone was waiting for Obama to speak to the nation," Lane said. "So I paused the TV and ran upstairs."

At first, his wife, Maggie, wasn't overly thrilled.

"She started cursing me as soon as she opened her eyes. It had been a long day," Lane said with a smile. "Let's just say she changed her tune real quick."

But the couple chose not to wake their sleeping second-grader.

"We told him this morning," Lane said. "All we said was that the Navy caught a really bad guy and brought him to justice."

Nearly 66 years to the day after the death of Adolf Hitler, a man compared to him by Wayne County residents this morning was killed by U.S. service members.

Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida who took credit for the 9/11 attacks, is dead.

"He's right up there with Hitler," said Jim Dixon, a self-described history buff who was on his way out of Starbucks this morning when he spoke of his initial reaction to the news. "It nearly brought a tear to my eye -- knowing that S.O.B. got what he deserved. I hope he burns in hell for what he did."

Lane agrees.

"This is one of the worst human beings to ever grace the planet -- a real enemy of this country," he said. "One day, (my son) will be old enough, and I'm gonna tell him why this is so huge."

The timing, Mack Denning said, is part of the reason the announcement was so big -- gas prices continue to climb and the economy is seemingly still limping out of a recession.

"America needed that boost," he said.

But it also "brings closure in New York and all over the country," the 67-year-old added.

Regina Wassenhove agreed, and said she hopes bin Laden's demise will lead to a resolution to the war efforts mounting overseas.

The Wayne Community College student, who has been deployed three times with the Air Force, heard about the terrorist's death on the radio during her morning commute.

"Hopefully it shows we're making progress over there and (that) can bring everyone home," she said. "It's about time."

Harold Anderson, 82, was not only encouraged by news of the death itself, but also the manner by which the United States buried bin Laden's remains.

"I'm glad they buried him at sea so they won't build a monument to him," he said. "Justice is done."

Some, though, tried to keep the "achievement" in perspective.

Like Navy veteran Johnnie Wiggins, a Mount Olive resident whose son, Roy, is a Navy petty officer and Explosive Ordnance Disposal expert serving in Iraq.

The elder Wiggins, who is recovering from an illness, said he was sitting in his recliner last night when the news broke about the terrorist leader's death.

"I think that is a grand thing for America, but it is just a bump in the road," he said, adding that the world should not "let its guard down just because one man is dead."