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Sense of Relief at Osama’s Death

by Dr. Vince Pelligrino
Wednesday May 2, 2012

With the death of Osama Bin Laden after all these years of relative freedom, the immediate effect on both our lives and our collective American spirit is one of joy and cautious optimism. Bin Laden's heinous actions on the days leading to September 11, 2001, caused all of us to feel a sense of helplessness and rage. Now with his death, we have the knowledge that justice was served despite the fact that those who died so tragically on that day, are never coming back except in vivid images of those last hours in their lives.

When I first heard the news of Bin Laden's death, I went outside of my building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and sang quietly to myself, "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead, Which Old Witch, The Osama Witch!" I sought out my fellow New Yorkers to share the news of this evil man's death but, my neighborhood was quiet during those late hours.

Dr. Vince Pellegrino has PhDs in educational theater and drama therapy from New York University and is a board-certified psychotherapist in New York City and Connecticut. He teaches communications at Hofstra University. He is currently working on a book, Gay Communication Game, about "Gayspeak"; an interactive TV program featuring real-time therapy sessions is in development. Go to his website for more information.

Not true for Times Square and the area around the site of the World Trade Center, where similar songs were sung but with much more gusto and fervor.
A sense of personal contentment and nationalistic pride flooded over me in those moments, as if I was jumping into the waves of my favorite beach on a beautiful sunny day.

I felt released in some spiritual way similar to what I would suppose was felt by those Americans who celebrated following the surrender of the Japanese on those last days of World War II. A day that most assuredly brought back images for many then of the days of Pearl Harbor, when our nation was unexpectedly attacked on a beautiful sunny day on December 7, 1941, similar to that day on September 11, 2001.

Now with the death of this evil man who evaded capture for almost ten years "thumbing his nose in our faces" the entire time, we feel released of the frustration of our great nation being ridiculed by this coward. It was if someone was pressing his shoe against our faces and shaming us with our inability to find and capture him.

Now that pressure is gone and we as a nation can bathe with pride and personal satisfaction at the knowledge that our president and counter-intelligence forces have done their job.

The timing of Osama's death could not have come at a better time, with our economy suffering due to high gas prices and continued high unemployment. The death of Osama coming also at the heels of the marriage of Prince William and his lovely Kate, who would most assuredly have made for excellent targets for those followers of Osama avenging his assassination.

The timing of both global events almost seems to have been purposeful and well planned, and for that, I am grateful.

As for my gay brothers and sisters, the knowledge of this man's death who has advocated the execution of those who love their own sex; images of those beautiful teenage boys who were hung on the streets of Iran coming to my mind, brings me additional satisfaction. As I watch the television news, I see celebrations throughout this county and my city, New York, who feel uplifted with the death of this tyrant who slaughtered innocents for no reason other than to justify his and his followers, warped sense of righteousness.

I begin my week with a renewed vigor and purpose toward making my life more meaningful, and to assist my fellow Americans toward feeling the same. Similar to the Munchkins in the "Wizard of Oz" celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the East, New Yorkers are waving American flags in celebration of the death of this iconic villain, who in his own way, represented death and despair. With his end, we can feel released and renewed in our work toward personal goals and national spirit.

It is now the time to reflect on those who died and know they have been avenged but, with our need to be ever-vigilant, with the knowledge that despite the head of the snake being cut off, the snake still lives. Our president and nation has completed one job, but the job of protecting our nation continues with their and our continued vigilance that the events of 9/11 never happen again.

God Bless America.


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